A LEADING Blackburn business owner who supplied hundreds of families with the latest domestic appliances over the years including, for many, their first colour TV sets, has died aged 77.

John Barrett joined his father in Barrett’s Electricals in Mill Hill when he was 15 and went on to run the company until he retired 52 years later in 2011.

He oversaw massive changes in the nature of the business and Barrett’s grew to become one of the area’s best known local independent businesses.

In later years he was involved in the company becoming part of the Euronics buying group.

John Barrett grew up in Mill Hill and attended St Aidan’s Primary School and then Blakey Moor Boys’ School, Blackburn.

A devoted family man he had a keen interest in the local amateur theatre scene and was one of the longest-serving members of Blackburn Drama Club.

It was through the club that he met his wife Isobel and the couple have two daughters Jane and Rachel.

Although the theatre took up a lot of his spare time, John only ever appeared in one production.

“He was very heavily involved in the back stage activities,” said Isobel, “like the sound or lighting. He would often be the stage manager for a production.

“He only once performed on stage – in a Blackburn Arts Club production of The Boyfriend in 1964 - but that was not really what he enjoyed.”

Mr Barrett was a member of Blackburn Rotary Club for more than 25 years and although being invited to become president on several occasion he would always decline.

“John was not the sort of person to seek the limelight,” said Isobel. “He was happiest working away in the background and contributing in a positive way.”

As well as the theatre and his family, Mr Barrett also enjoyed travelling and foreign holidays with Isobel.

Michael Berry, chairman of Blackburn’s Empire Theatre, paid tribute to Mr Barrett.

“John was a true gentleman,” he said. “He was a good friend to the theatre at a time when we really needed them.

“He provided all the communication equipment which allowed those in the dressing rooms to see what was going on on stage and wouldn’t take a penny for it.

“He was a tireless worker for Blackburn Drama Club and continued to take a keen interest in the theatre as we have grown over the past 20 years.

“He was the sort of person you knew you could call on whenever you might need a little help and will be sorely missed.”

Mr Barrett’s funeral will be held at Blackburn’s Pleasington Crematorium today at 3pm. Donations are being received in aid of the Sanctuary of Healing at Langho. Further details from Alty’s Funeral Services, 01254 503240.