TRIBUTES have been paid to a poet and publisher who was a pioneer for the hippy movement in Blackburn in the 1960s and 70s.

Dave Cunliffe lived in Copster Green recently but died peacefully at Hazeldene Rest Home on Ribchester Road in Wilpshire on April 16.

The 80-year-old was born in Blackburn but moved to London as a teenager and was a writer on counter culture activity and the jazz club scene in the 1960s.

He is seen as having made a significant contribution to the revival of British poetry and also his anti-war, environmentalism and anti-racism campaigns over the years.

Friend Mike Waite said: “He was widely seen as a pioneer for the hippy values and vegetarianism and veganism in the 1970s.

“He was in charge of many things in the town including poetry readings in pubs, street theatre and as the head of creative activities, and many people shared his values.

“He also inspired people to write.

“I met him in the 1970s and have known him ever since.

“He was involved in poetry and was influenced by Allen Ginsberg in the way of avant garde.

“Like some people of the time he got in a few scrapes.

“He moved back to Blackburn in the 1960s and he was quite a central character in things around that time such as helping the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

“He also was involved in protests about cruelty to animals, vegetarianism and veganism.

“Dave produced poetry magazines and a local newspaper the Blackburn Barker.

“He was opposed to racism and believed in pacifism and fought for the rights of gay people too.”

Other tributes have been made on social media including one from BBC Radio 4 presenter of ‘The Verb’ Ian McMillan. He tweeted: “So sorry to hear this: Dave Cunliffe was a true underground poet, British beatnik and man of many words RIP.”

Mike added: “He was somebody who was doing things for the first time that nobody had done and then they would be picked up by other people. I would say he brought more up to date cultural activity to the town.”