A SENIOR councillor is giving up his role in charge of raising cash to support a historic East Lancashire ancient monument.

Blackburn with Darwen public health boss Cllr Damian Talbot has been chair of the Turton Tower Charitable Funds Committee since 2010.

But now he has decided to stand aside despite his heart wanting him to carry on.

The Grade One heritage-listed Turton Tower is a a manor house in Chapeltown on the moors above Darwen and Bolton dating from the Middle Ages.

Its original pele tower was enlarged mainly in late 16th century.

The historic building is owned and managed by Blackburn with Darwen Council supported by a charitable trust.

In his resignation letter Cllr Talbot said: "I am writing to inform you of my intention to step down as chair of the Turton Tower Charitable Funds Committee with effect from the end of this municipal year.

"I am the only person ever to have chaired the committee since the creation of the Trust in 2010.

"At that time I held the position of executive member for culture, leisure and sport, and museums fell under my remit.

"When I became chair the future of the Tower was very uncertain.

"I was therefore very keen to lead the trust and ensure that the Tower established a sound footing and a sustainable future.

"The Tower needed essential investment and a culture change in operation and finance, with the need for a greater role for volunteers.

"I’ve been pleased to see how the Tower has developed since that time, and I see Turton Tower now being in a strong position.

"We’ve invested significantly – replacing the main Tower roof and with significant work on the stair turret dealing with dry rot.

"And we now have an amazingly dedicated and passionate group of volunteers.

"My council roles in recent years have changed and broadened significantly. Added to this my portfolio no longer covers museums.

"I think you all know I have a passion for Turton Tower.  My heart says to me I want to carry on!

"This is linked to my strong belief in the importance of history and the fact that any person, no matter where they come from, should have access to history and learning.

"Turton Tower is without question the most historic building in Blackburn with Darwen and it has been an absolute privilege to be involved with the Tower and hopefully to have played a part in securing stability for the next 600 years."

Darwen South councillor and trust member Anthony Shaw replied to Cllr Talbot's letter saying: "You have served admirably and I'm sure we all appreciate your passion and dedication to this beautiful historic building.

"Under your stewardship we have come a very long way."