JACK Hunter was famous. He was trainer to Blackburn Olympic FC when they won the FA Cup in 1883, played in the team, represented England seven times and was later trainer with the Rovers.

His son, Philip Hunter, of Carlisle Street, Blackburn, also had a claim to fame - though it was an odd one.

He was the only man, dressed as a woman, on the only donkey drawn vehicle to finish the course in Blackburn's biggest-ever street parade, which took place in the late 1890s.

Born in 1878, Philip told the story to the Northern Daily Telegraph, when he was approaching 80 in 1958.

It all started at a meeting of the Thursday Half-Day Football Club at the Golden Lion.

"Why don't we have a carnival to raise funds for Indian famine relief?" suggested one member.

The idea spread rapidly. The town's businessmen joined in and a committee was formed - and the carnival became the biggest street the town had ever seen before.

The procession was more than a mile long and spent several hours touring Blackburn's streets; the greater part of the residents turned out to watch it.

Philip and his brother John, who was a butcher on the market for more than 50 years, decided to take part as Mr and Mrs Nibs of Bethnal Green and spent hours sewing pearl buttons on costumes.

They borrowed a cart from a fruiterer and a donkey - no other donkey vehicle was to finish the course - but the Hunters knew a thing or two about donkeys.

They set off with a bunch of carrots on the end of a pole, which was dangled in front of the animal whenever it showed signs of flagging.

And they won second prize for the best comic sketch on a vehicle - a new straw hat each, while the poor donkey at last got his carrots.

In those days, both brothers, like their father, were keenly interested in sports and in 1958, Philip, a retired postman, was an honorary vice president of Blackburn and District Anglers,

Indeed, he once had his own fishing rights on a stretch of the Ribble at Clitheroe and also kept pigeons for years, once being secretary of Blackburn and District Homing Society.