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Ian was a journalist of the old school who pulled no punches

Ian Pilkington in his later years
Ian Pilkington in his later years
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Tributes have been paid to a respected former Burnley Express journalist who has died after a short illness.



Outspoken former columnist and deputy news editor Ian Pilkington died aged 71 in the Royal Blackburn Hospital from cancer with his wife and daughter by his side.

He was a popular and well-known figure in local media circles having worked for the Express, Rossendale Free Press and Lancashire Telegraph.

During his time at the Express, Ian became well-known for his lively and outspoken views through his ‘Straight Talking’ column.

Burnley Express editor Chris Daggett paid tribute to Ian’s tenacity as a journalist.

“Ian was certainly a journalist of the old school in every way.

“His network of contacts in the town and knowledge of local affairs produced many a front page for the Burnley Express.

“And Ian was never afraid to ruffle a few feathers, particularly in his extremely popular Straight Talking column.

“He pulled no punches and his opinions on all things Burnley were honest and straight to the point. But that approach won him the respect and admiration of establishment figures and readers alike.

“He contributed a hell of a lot to newspapers in East Lancashire and was greatly respected by his peers across the region.”

Ian, who grew up in Stacksteads and attended Fearns High School, leaves wife Karen, with whom he had lived in Padiham, and other family.

His daughter Nicola Johnstone said he was a straight talking man who didn’t mince his words, an old school journalist.

She said: “Dad was a stickler for grammar and punctuation. He actually started out training to be an accountant but he hated it. In his younger years he enjoyed a drink with colleagues and was once nominated for journalist of the year.

“Away from journalism he enjoyed horticulture and would exhibit fuschia at local shows. He also enjoyed painting, photography and cruises with Karen.”

His funeral was held on Wednesday this week at Burnley Crematorium followed by a wake at the Hapton Inn.