A GIANT of Blackburn’s industrial heritage has died after a long illness.

Geoffrey Livesey OBE, who was 82, had been one of the North West’s most prominent industrialists for over quarter of a century.

Mr Livesey, who died on April 9 just two weeks before his 83rd birthday, was best known as the managing director and then CEO of Cobble Group in Blackburn, which under his stewardship had been the world’s largest manufacturer of tufted carpet making machinery, and as a former president of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

Son Fraser said: “My father was a consummate businessman who, during his career, rose from management trainee to head of a large engineering group, believed passionately in supporting the local business community.”

Born in Bolton in 1939, Mr Livesey attended the town’s Canon Slade Grammar School before studying textiles and engineering at Bolton Institute of Technology and then serving with the RAF for two years of National Service.

Mr Livesey would have his greatest impact with Blackburn company Cobble Ltd.

Over the next 25 years he expanded the group to export its machinery to Japan, Germany, Austria and China, as well as expanding the firm across the UK.

As well as serving as president of the Blackburn Chamber of Commerce in 1984 he was a member of the CBI Council along with being founder and chairman of Blackburn and District Enterprise Trust.

East Lancs chamber chief executive Miranda Barker said: “All of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce are saddened to hear this news.

“Geoffrey Livesey will be remembered as a valued former chamber president and a stalwart supporter of the chamber and our local local business community.”

In 1990 he was awarded an OBE for services to industry.

Retiring in 1999, Mr Livesey was then able to spend more time with his wife Anne, his sons Fraser and Nicholas, daughter-in-law Emma and grandchildren Joe and Nancy and to indulge his life-long passion for railways.

Fraser said: “He had a great fascination and deep knowledge of steam trains and the rail network and loved meeting with other enthusiasts.”

After over 20 years of well-earned retirement, Mr Livesey died peacefully at home in Rochdale.