Final tributes to ‘honest, true and respected man’

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The streets of Preston were lined with people saying farewell to a much-loved husband, father and city councillor.

A civic funeral was held after the death of Labour Coun Tom Burns, with tributes and readings from his family and the city’s political leaders.

SOMBRE: The funeral service yesterday

SOMBRE: The funeral service yesterday

A requiem mass took place at St Wilfrid’s Church in the city centre, which was filled with hundreds of people wanting to pay their last respects. The funeral cortege arrived at the Town Hall, where the flag flew at half mast, before moving across Preston to the church.

Hymns included The Lord Is My Shepherd and Praise My Soul the King of Heaven, and readings were given by Coun John Collins and county council leader Jennifer Mein.

The eulogy, by Tom’s brother John Burns, described the Fishwick councillor, who lived in Fulwood, as an “honest, true and respected man”.

Mr Burns said: “Mostly, Tom was first and foremost a man of his family - a proud and protective father to his children, and will remain so for ever.”

SOMBRE: The funeral service yesterday

SOMBRE: The funeral service yesterday

Preston Council leader Peter Rankin said: “Preston does not offer civic funerals lightly.

“This is a civic funeral because of Coun Tom Burns’ role and achievements on the council and because of the great respect and enormous affection Tom was held in by his fellow councillors.”

He fought back tears as he paid tribute to his friend and colleague, describing him as a “determined” man. He said: “Tom was a caring, passionate socialist with a deep commitment to the people of his ward of Fishwick and to Preston.  He always wanted to try and make life better for people.”

He added: “Dear Tom, rest in peace. We salute your service to the community and we will all miss you.”