Henry Mitchell funeral: Former Blackpool mayor was 'above all fun and a friend'
Former Blackpool Mayor Henry Mitchell was remembered as a man who '˜made a difference to people's lives' as family and friends gathered to say their final farewells to him.
A civic funeral, held at St Stephen on the Cliffs Church in North Shore, yesterday celebrated the life of the dad-of-two who died in Blackpool Victoria Hospital on October 30, aged 87.
His passions for ballroom dancing, his family and the town he served were recalled during a funeral service which included clips of Henry’s own words gleaned from interviews with his son, Radio Wave news editor Andy Mitchell.
Andy was joined by his sister Jill in sharing memories of their father, who was born in Manchester but moved to Blackpool as an evacuee on the eve of the Second World War.
Andy told the congregation: “Over the last week we have been touched and heartened by hundreds of messages both in letters and cards and on social media.
“That ‘everyone has a story about our Henry’ has been the phrase of the week.”
Jill added: “He loved people from all walks of life. There was no edge to him.
“We used to go shopping to Morrisons and it would take twice as long as for anyone else because everyone wanted to speak to him.”
Canon Andrew Sage, who conducted the service, said Henry’s legacy was the dedication he had shown to the town.
He said: “He was a great councillor, but above all he was fun and was a friend, and that’s not a bad epitaph.
“That’s why Henry became a councillor, as he thought he could make a difference to people’s lives. ”
Henry had represented Anchorsholme and Bispham for the Conservatives during two stints on Blackpool Council, and was made an honourary alderman when he stepped down from the council in 2015.
Current Mayor Coun Gary Coleman, council leader Coun Simon Blackburn and leader of the Conservative group Coun Tony Williams were among the mourners.
As Henry’s coffin made its final journey out of the church, standard bearers lowered the flags as the last post was sounded.