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Unitary's longest serving chief to be replaced by deputy

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Blackburn with Darwen BC’s longest serving chief executive has announced his retirement after a 40-year career in local government.

Harry Catherall, who has been at the council for 20 years, will hand over to his deputy Denise Park in May next year.

He started his career as an apprentice accountant at Tameside MBC and moved into management at Stockport MBC before joining Blackburn with Darwen in 1997 ahead of the council becoming a unitary authority. He was appointed chief executive in 2012.

Mr Catherall said it had been a “real honour” to work at the council and said he is particularly proud of the improvement in educational attainment and apprenticeships for young people.

Mr Catherall added: “From day one, providing the best possible support for the most vulnerable people in the community has been a high priority.

“I take great pride seeing children and families benefitting at our outstanding children’s centres right through to an amazing high standard of care for disabled adults and older people in the new extra care housing facilities.”

He said the council had continued to focus investment on skills, business growth and town centres.

“I see great community spirit every day, the way people pull together on any given issue is just brilliant, I very much feel part of it all and I will be keeping my links,” Mr Catherall said.

Blackburn with Darwen leader Mohammed Khan (Lab) said Mr Catherall had set very high standards, describing him as “extremely hard working and determined”.

He added: “Above all he’s humble and always passionate about making sure we do the best for the people we serve; especially those who need help the most.

His integrity, attention to detail and persistence is why we have remained bold and ambitious in very challenging times.”

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