A BLACKBURN with Darwen councillor has died after a long illness.

Tributes have been paid to Don McKinlay, ‘a dedicated family man and public servant’.


The 60-year-old died of cancer in East Lancashire Hospice a few days before his birthday and 39th wedding anniversary.

Wife Diana said: “He was committed to politics and helping people but also a devoted family man.”

The former retail worker and full-time official for shopworkers union USDAW was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 but showed signs of recovery before relapsing in September.

As well Diana, he leaves daughter Dionne, 39, son Danny, 32 and four grandchildren.

Cllr McKinlay, who lived in Lower Darwen, served as councillor for Greenbank ward from May 1980 to March 1997 when he decided his travelling for union duties mean he could no longer continue.

He was re-elected as Highercroft ward councillor following a by-election in May 2014 following the death of councillor Dorothy Lord.

In December he was excused attendance at Blackburn with Darwen Council meetings after his health deteriorated.

In the 1980s he served as vice-chair of the borough council’s Personnel Working Group.

Last year he was appointed as chairman of its policy and corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee.

Mrs McKinlay said: “He was diagnosed in 2015 with cancer and then had a chemo and radiotherapy and had a fantastic 12 months. Then in September we were told it had come back and spread.

“Don’s main interest was politics but he played a little golf.

“He loved helping others but always found time to look after his family.”

Cllr Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “I would like to pay tribute to his dedication and for the difference he made during his various roles.”

Fellow Highercroft councillor Andy Kay said: “He was a good friend and dedicated to working for ordinary people. He was a lovely man with a keen sense of humour, even in his darkest days. He will be much missed.”

Cllr McKinlay’s funeral will be at Pleasington Crematorium on January 26 with a wake at Mill Hill Working Men’s Club.

It will cause the second by-election in Highercroft ward in three months after Amy Johnson replaced her father Mike as councillor in December following his death in October,