TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known figure in sporting and political circles in Burnley following his death.

Harry Brooks was president of Lowerhouse Cricket Club in the town and a former vice-president of the Clarets.

He also served as a councillor for the Rosehill ward on the borough council - initially being elected for Labour but later becoming an outspoken leader of the Independent group.

Brought up in Pheasantford Street and the son of a miner, his first job was as an office worker, at the former Bank Hall pit, before he went to the London School of Economics as a mature student.

He shared a flat with future Labour minister Frank Dobson before going on to work in higher education, most notably as registrar of Loughborough University.

His return to Burnley saw him enter local politics, which would see him clash repeatedly with former friends in Labour, especially over the causes of the 2001 disturbances in the town.

Outside of the political sphere, he was an avid Burnley FC fan and became heavily involved in Lowerhouse CC.

A former committee man at the cricket club, he established the Harry Brooks Foundation, which supported both juniors and advanced players, while also securing the provision of specialist equipment, from pitch vision to a public address system and an electronic scoreboard.

The ground, formerly known as either West End or Liverpool Road, was later renamed in his and the foundation’s honour.

A Lowerhouse spokesman said: “Harry once described himself as an iconoclast. If he thought someone or something was wrong he would do his level best to right that wrong .

“He was a very principled man and the club has benefited not only from his generosity but his wisdom and advice on a number of thorny issues.

“Harry has been a generous benefactor for the club and especially the juniors and was determined that the club would be in safe hands .

“His legacy will continue on both a personal level and under financial provisions made by Harry for the foundation for years to come. Harry has been incredibly generous and helpful to Lowerhouse and we will never forget Harry or his contribution.

A Burnley FC spokesman added: “Harry was a shareholder and Bond holder at the club and one of a number of supporters who contributed significantly to help buy back Turf Moor and the club’s training ground six years ago. Everyone at Turf Moor would like to pass on our condolences to Harry’s family and friends at this sad time.”

Funeral details are expected to be announced shortly.