VETERAN councillor Colin Rigby, who served as a the first Conservative leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, has announced his retirement.

The 79-year-old , who was borough Mayor in 2017/18 , said he felt he could no longer do the job to the standard he wanted to.

Current Labour council leader Mohammed Khan described the West Pennine representative as a 'gentleman'.

Cllr Rigby - first elected or North Turton ward in 1991 - said: “I have been a councillor for 30 years and have done it all.

“I was the first Conservative leader at Blackburn for 50 years in 2007.

“There is not much more I can do and I am just about being honest with people.

“I know I cannot do the job to the satisfaction I want to. I am in a massive ward in West Pennine. When I was just in North Turton it was possible but most of it is in Darwen and with physical problems of getting there."

Cllr Khan told Thursday's Council Forum meeting: "Cllr Rigby has always been a gentleman. We may not always agree on policy but Cllr Rigby has always been very kind and courteous."

Also standing down at the May 6 local elections is Billinge with Beardwood Conservative Cllr Julie Daley retiring after 10 years due to work commitments.

Cllr Khan said: "I think we are going to miss her."

Council Tory group leader Cllr John Slater said: "Colin has been an absolutely great servant to the borough and to the Conservative Party."

"Julie will be sorely missed."