A POPULAR former landlord who ran pubs across East Lancashire has died aged 85.

Harry Roberts was best known for his 15 years behind the bar of the Blackamoor pub in Roman Road, Blackburn.

And before that he ran the Flying Dutchman in Burnley Road, Padiham, and the Yutick’s Nest in Pringle Street, Blackburn, which closed in 1992.

But Harry, of Lime Avenue, Oswaldtwistle, died last week, shortly before his 86th birthday, following an operation to repair a broken femur sustained in a fall.

He leaves his wife June, sisters Pat and Margaret, daughters Lesley and Amanda, grandchildren Rebecca, Megan, Jake and Luciana and great grandsons Harry Jnr and George.

He also had a late brother, Kenneth.

Mrs Roberts said: “He was a lovely man who left an impression on anyone he met.

“He was a really kind man, very generous. He loved the pub, that was where he was happy. Harry just loved people and acting the goat and making everybody laugh.

“He was a natural entertainer but also had a caring, sensitive and serious side.”

Harry was born in Burnley and attended Abel Street School. He worked in the pits but joined the Navy during the war, spending 12 months at sea. After being demobbed he went back into the mines, and later became a lorry driver for a decade. Then, along with his first wife Marion, he took over the Flying Dutchman.

From there he took over the Yutick’s Nest and, in 1978, the Blackamoor.

Marion died in 1983 and in 1986 he married June at Blackburn Register Office.

They lived in Blackamoor Road, Guide, for many years but left the pub trade in 1992 when Harry decided to retire.

He remained active and spent much time at Green Haworth Golf Club or fishing on the River Ribble.

He also took a watercolours class at Blackburn College.

But in the last five years, Harry lost the use of his legs after several hip operations.

Mrs Roberts said: “He will be missed by so many.”

A spokesman for brewery Thwaites, which owns the Blackamoor, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear news of Harry’s passing and would like to pass our sincere condolences to his family.”

His funeral is on Friday from 1.30pm and the procession will pass the Blackamoor on the way to Pleasington Crematorium.