THE principal who has overseen a massive eight-year expansion of Blackburn College has announced he is leaving.

Ian Clinton, who joined Blackburn College in June 2004 after running colleges in Leeds and Cheshire, made the announcement to his colleagues yesterday.

During his time in East Lancashire, Mr Clinton, a member of the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, has worked to bring education, business and industry closer together. In a varied career, he has also sold life insurance and run an antiques business in Sussex.

Yesterday, in an internal email the ‘well respected’ principal told colleagues he would be leaving the college on December 31.

Vice Principal Lisa O’Loughlin said: “It is really sad news to hear that Ian will be leaving Blackburn College.

“He is not retiring and so I am sure he will be exploring future options. Ian has had a fantastic impact on the college with the expansion, the fantastic Ofsted reports and the growth of the University Centre. He has left a real legacy.”