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Pioneering Burnley health chief dies aged 94
10:00pm Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
A FORMER chief medical officer of Burnley has died at the age of 94.
Dr Luke Collins was in charge of public health in the town for almost 20 years.
After moving to East Lancashire from Ireland, Dr Collins spent time as a house surgeon at Accrington Victoria Hospital and then worked in private practice before being appointed assistant Medical Officer of Health in Burnley in 1947.
In 1951 he was made deputy Medical Officer of Health, before landing the main job in 1959, where some of the main issues he addressed included family planning and lung cancer.
In 1973, he spoke about the dangers of smoking causing lung cancer following an increase in lung cancer deaths in the town in 1972.
Dr Collins said: “I must again point out the dangers of smoking. Lung cancer is preventable, and we must continue to direct our health education towards the schoolchildren.
“But it will take several years before any improvement can be claimed.
“Our hospital management committee endeavoured to restrict smoking in the hospitals.
“Other public places who did likewise, and some stores, are to be commended for their no-smoking restrictions.”
In 1969, in his annual report, Dr Collins also forecast that Burnley would be ‘an attractive town’ by the mid-70s.
He said: “This can and will be done, and with the planned provision of cultural, social and entertainment amenities, Burnley will be an attractive town by the mid-1970s.”
Dr Collins died in Royal Blackburn Hospital on Friday, September 27.
He leaves behind three sons, Michael, Anthony and Jerard.
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