Friends group founder who helped Jubilee Gardens flourish dies

Alan Darling, right, with his partner and fellow Friends group founder Michael Higgins
Alan Darling, right, with his partner and fellow Friends group founder Michael Higgins
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One of the founders of a Blackpool friends group who banished weeds and brought flowers to Blackpool sea front has died.

Alan Darling, 65, died on Friday following a short battle with cancer.

He was one of the founding members of the Friends of Jubilee Gardens, at Gynn Square, in 2016, and was the group’s treasurer.

Councillor Michele Scott, who is involved with the Friends group, said: “It all started with just three people cleaning the Promenade of weeds, and from that it has developed into a friends group of volunteers who do all sorts of things. Some people plant, some people pick weeds. There are individual beds now which are sponsored by families and businesses which brings a welcome source of income to the group. None of this would have been possible without Alan.

“As one of the founding members, he has been the driving force behind the group.

“It’s so sad that at a time when the gardens are really flourishing we are losing one of our key members.

“Alan was our treasurer, and also provided a lot of support and help to the group. He would do all the driving to get the plants, advising, as well as working hard in the gardens.

“He put in so many hours to those gardens and it’s a real tribute to his hard work and effort and energy and drive that they are looking as they are today.”

As well as being a keen gardener, Mr Darling ran a hotel on King Edward Avenue with his partner and fellow Friends of Jubilee Gardens founder Michael Higgins.

Coun Danny Scott said: “It’s absolutely heartbreaking. It happened so quickly.

“He made the room a better place just by being in it. He had a lovely sense of humour. He was a very gentle man and he’s going to be sadly missed.”

Mr Darling’s funeral will take place at Carleton Crematorium on August 17.