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Former Preston council leader Peter Rankin dies after brain cancer battle

Posted on - 11th June, 2018 - 10:24am | Author - | Posted in - Ashton-on-Ribble, Politics, Preston Council, Preston News, Tulketh
Councillor Peter Rankin
Councillor Peter Rankin

A twice former leader of Preston City Council has died following a battle with brain cancer.

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Peter Rankin passed away on Sunday 10 June following his six-month fight with cancer.

Born in Northern Ireland he moved to Preston in 1979.

The 67-year-old was leader of the city council from 1997 to 2000 and then from 2011 to May 2018, representing Labour.

Married to Lynn for more than 40 years and the father of their two daughters. They lived in Ashton-on-Ribble and Peter represented the Tulketh ward.

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Peter’s tumour was diagnosed in November last year and he stood down temporarily in December 2017 to undergo surgery.

Peter returned to council service in February to open the city’s new market.

Cutting the ribbon at the official opening of the Preston Markets. Pic: Tony Worrall
Peter Rankin, second from right, cutting the ribbon at the Market Pic: Tony Worrall

He was made an honorary Alderman of the city in May 2018.

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A statement from Preston City Council said: “A proud adopted-Prestonian, Peter believed in working closely with neighbouring local authorities and partners for the benefit of the local area. He was passionate about the regeneration of the city and the new Preston Market Hall was the embodiment of that passion and drive.

“Our thoughts are with his family at this time. A further announcement will be made regarding funeral arrangements.”

Tributes from political leaders

Leader of Preston City Council councillor Matthew Brown said: “This is very sad news. Peter was a great champion for Preston and will be missed by councillors from all parties, as well as many council employees. What he achieved for the city is evident – just look at the development of the new Market Hall and the recently signed Faith Covenant.

“I represented Tulketh with Peter for 10 years. He was a very hard working and supportive individual who really cared for the people he represented.

“Peter Rankin will be greatly missed. My thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Leader of the Preston Conservative group councillor Neil Cartwright said: “I am devastated by this news. I have known Peter Rankin for a great many years and although we had our political differences, I have always held him in the highest regard.

“Peter loved this city and worked passionately for what he believed was best for its residents. We have all lost a great man, and my heart goes out to Lynn and his daughters are this incredibly sad time.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Preston councillor Pauline Brown said: “So very sad to hear about Peter today. Our thoughts are with his family during this very sad time. Peter was always a wonderful advocate for Preston. He worked tirelessly for Preston and really believed in his adopted City. The Market Quarter was one of the achievements he was most proud of , and rightly so. He had a marvellous vision for Preston and used to get frustrated if matters beyond his control held him back.

“I remember spending time with him, and his lovely wife Lynn, in Nimes on a Twinning holiday. He was so relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed the break but even then he was conscious of the importance of the special bond we have with our twin towns and his professionalism shone through on all the occasions we attended. His dedication to his party and to the people of Preston will be sorely missed.”

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Tributes from Preston businesses

Owner of the Ham and Jam coffee shop in Lancaster Road, opposite the Town Hall, Richard Lowthian also paid tribute.

He said: “We are so sad to hear this news. We were lucky enough to win the ‘Guild Merchant Competition’ that allowed us to develop our Ham and Jam Independent coffee shop. Peter was part of the ‘Dragons Den’ panel that chose our idea as a winner.

“We occupied a city council property that had stood empty for 10 years we refurbished it and opened it due to in part the ‘Guild Merchants Competition’.

“Peter was a fantastic supporter of our idea and a regular customer being opposite the Town Hall. His flat white coffee and lunch time panini was a favourite. Rest in Peace Peter.”

The University of Central Lancashire, where Alderman Rankin worked for decades, has also paid tribute.

Professor Mike Thomas, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Central Lancashire, said: “This is a very sad time for the City and the University. Peter worked at UCLan for over 32 years where latterly he was our Principal Careers and Employability Advisor. He loved the day-to-day work of helping individual students find their professional calling. Peter was incredibly well liked and respected by the University community and made many good friends amongst our staff and students.”

David Taylor, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Board, added: “In his council role we admired Peter’s tenacity and his sense of fairness. He always put the members of the Community ahead of politics and worked tirelessly to welcome new members into the inclusive and diverse City community.

“Peter will be greatly missed by many of us, our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.”

Funeral details have been confirmed, with Peter Rankin receiving a civic funeral.

A book of condolence is available in the Town Hall entrance for tributes and messages to Peter Rankin’s family, or you can leave your messages via an online book of condolence.

You can leave your tributes to Peter Rankin in the comments below or you can email contactus@blogpreston.co.uk if you have a longer comment you would like to leave and be part of a tributes piece

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