TRIBUTES have been paid to a community champion described as ‘a true gentleman’.

British Aerospace engineer Peter Dawson, 66, was well known in the Shadsworth area of Blackburn for his work supporting schools, community centres, and disability groups.

Peter also served as a Justice of the Peace for ten years, was an active trade unionist at BAE and was instrumental in supporting the miners’ strike in the 1980s through his work with the Labour party in Shadsworth.

The Blackburn man, who was the oldest of nine children, is a former governor at St Antony's Primary School and was head governor at Queen’s Park High School.

He was also chairman of Accrington Road Community Centre, and is credited for saving the resource from collapse more than once.

He also led the Physically Handicapped Abled Body Group, alongside fundraising for the community centre.

His daughter Rebecca said: “He was passionate about helping his community and was an incredible family man. We actually didn’t even know most of what he did for others until quite recently because he didn’t like to brag. Some of his projects we had to Google to find out more.”

Mr Dawson was also involved in the Wired Up Communities project, a government initiative for deprived areas. He was successful for the East Lancashire bid, and with fellow campaigners provided the community with free laptops and training.

Rebecca said: “My dad was a man who fought for others, a true socialist who worked fiercely to help other people within his community. He was a true gentleman”

Mr Dawson’s wife, Christabelle Langhorn, died earlier this year. He leaves three children, Debbi Dawson, 44, Tony Dawson, 42 and Rebecca Cooper, 31, eleven grandchildren and one great grandchild to be.

Blackburn councillor Maureen Bateson said: “Everyone knew him as such a dedicated family man and so proud of his family. He worked tirelessly for the community and he is irreplaceable. He will be very sadly missed.”

His funeral will be held at Blackburn Cathedral on Friday March 23 at 11am.