A COMMUNITY stalwart who took it upon himself to maintain a borough's cemetery and war memorial for more than 40 years has died.

George Hardman, of Mitton Road, Whalley died at the Royal Blackburn Hospital aged 83.

Mr Hardman, who was well known in the community for maintaining the war memorial and gardens at Whalley Methodist Church, which he did for over 40 years.

The former Calderstones Hospital employee leaves behind his wife of 62 years Ida, his daughter Val and son-in- law David as well as grandchildren Jasmine and Jake.

Whalley councillor Terry Hill said: “George’s contribution to the community was unsung and yet quite significant.

“He felt a duty to look after the war memorial and he looked after it very well.

“He never asked for any credit for it.

“He was a really nice man.”

The maintenance worker was born at the Springfield Maternity Home in Blackburn and came from a family-of-five.

For the early part of his life, Mr Hardman lived in Earl Street before moving to Seven Acre Brook.

He attended Four Lane Ends Junior School and then Blackburn Technical High School.

Mr Hardman then followed an apprenticeship at Whitebirk Power Station before doing his National Service in Singapore as part of the Royal Engineers in the late 1950s.

Mr Hardman, who worked at Calderstones for more than 40 years, moved to Whalley with his wife in 1964.

A former colleague said: “We had tremendous respect for George and his dedication and the work he did to preserve the memory of the organisation’s transformation and development."

Prince Charles visited Calderstones Hospital in 1981 and George made a wooden model of his favourite horse ‘Good Prospect’ and asked the management to present this to him.

The Prince said he wanted to meet whoever made the wooden horse and Mr Hardman was invited to present it to him personally.

Melrose Diack, who lived next to Mr Hardman, said: “George was a quiet, unexceptional man and a kind soul.

“He was a well respected Whalley community stalwart and would do anything and everything for everybody.

“He liked his boxing, gardening, pets, chess, boating, walking in the countryside and constantly working on his home and others.

“He will be missed by his loving family, friends, neighbours and the community.

“It’s such a sad loss.”