Respected Rotarian dies (83)

Colin Burns.
Colin Burns.

A dedicated community man and two time former President of Barnoldswick and Earby Rotary Club has died.

Colin Burns (83) died in Airedale Hospital on March 15th after a stroke. A devout Christian, his funeral was held at St Andrew’s Methodist Church on Tuesday where he worshipped for many years.

Mr Burns was born in Batley, West Yorkshire, and when he was six years old, a young girl his own age named Sadie Sutton came to live next door. Although he did not know it at the time, this was to be the start of something big.

Mr Burns attended Birstall County Primary School and Healey Secondary Modern before Batley Technical College where he gained a City and Guilds in Engineering.

He did an apprenticeship at Hudson’s Foundry and went on to attend Leeds Polytechnic and gained his higher engineering certificates.

Mr Burns and Sadie were “going steady” by the age of 14 and they were married at 21.

He later joined the RAF as a regular for three years, deferred while he took his exams, and this took the newlyweds to Hong Kong while Mr Burns completed Far East Service as an Aircraft Fitter with the rank of Sergeant.

In Hong Kong, Mrs Burns gave birth to their first daughter Annita in 1954.

They returned home to live in Birstall on a cruise ship, via South Africa, because it was just at the time of the Suez crisis and the canal was closed.

The Burns family then moved to Barnoldswick when Mr Burns got a job as a draughtsman with Rolls-Royce, rising to the position of Team Leader in the Drawing Office.

Karen, their second daughter, was born in 1960 and when Karen was 10, they moved to Rainhall Road into a house that Mrs Burns had fallen in love with.

Mr Burns retired from Rolls-Royce at the age of 59 but continued to work as a consultant, firstly for Westerns at Foulridge, and then at Rolls-Royce, until he finally retired at 70.

Outside of work, the couple were great dancers and enjoyed dancing at the Rolls-Royce Social Club and Mr Burns loved singing at Gilbert and Sullivan and church choral sessions.

They used to love walking in Scotland and spent several holidays north of the border but the couple’s favourite port of call was Bridlington, where they enjoyed many trips walking along the coastline from Scarborough to Bempton to Flamborough.

Twice President of Barnoldswick and Earby Rotary Club, Mr Burns other community-minded hobbies included refereeing football matches in the Craven League and being a Scout Master, winning an award for 50 years Scouting Service.

Mr Burns leaves behind his wife Sadie, daughters Annita and Karen, five grandchildren and his great-granddaughter.