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Tributes paid to former Burnley union stalwart
TRIBUTES have been paid to a stalwart former union man who lost a short battle with cancer.
Selby Chalk was awarded the British Empire Medal for his trade union work, and will also be remembered for his efforts in saving St John’s Church in Worsthorne where he was church warden.
Father-of-two Mr Chalk, 86, died on March 12 after being diagnosed with bowel cancer. His funeral takes place on Thursday.
Born in Newcastle, the sheet metal worker moved to Burnley in 1951 to take up a role with Joseph Lucas Engineering after work dried up in his home town.
He became heavily involved in union work and took on the role of senior shop steward.
He was also president of the Burnley branch of the Sheet Metalworkers’ Union.
He stayed at Lucas until retiring in 1985 and, after initially living in Ormerod Road, Burnley, he then moved to Thornton Road, Pike Hill, before settling in Water Street, Worsthorne.
His daughter Gillian Balderstone said: “He was a really kind, lovely man. He was a very strong character with very strong beliefs in religion.”
Mr Chalk leaves behind a second daughter, Jackie, and two grandchildren. His wife Florence died 10 years ago.
Lawrence Laycock, former vicar at St John the Evangelist in Worsthorne, said: “By the end of his time at Lucas he had become the senior shop steward. He was very outspoken in the role, you were never in any doubt what he thought of things.
“As a consequence of his work at Lucas he was given the British Empire Medal in 1980.”
Mr Chalk was church warden at St John’s for over 20 years and helped keep it going when threatened with closure in the late 1960s.
Mr Laycock said: “He was influential in creating the rooms at the back of the church that kept it going.
“He was chairman of the building committee and really helped to save it.
“For 20 years he also single-handedly looked after the graveyard at the church. He was also a great walker and knew the area around Worsthorne. For anybody wanting to know about the area he was the historian they all turned to.
“I had a great relationship with him, he was quite a man, just a very special person.”
Mr Chalk’s funeral will take place at Burnley Crematorium at 12pm.