Meet the new mayor who is 'an ordinary bloke in an extraordinary borough'

Brian Taylor -Credit:Lancs Live/Jude Tolson
Brian Taylor -Credit:Lancs Live/Jude Tolson

Veteran Labour councillor and health campaigner Cllr Brian Taylor will step in as Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen this week after the original candidate Sylvia Liddle lost her seat in Thursday’s local elections.

Sylvia had been chosen by her group to become the borough’s ‘First Citizen’ an the authority’s annual meeting on May 16 but was defeated by independent candidate Imran Ahmed in her Roe Lee ward. Now Labour has chosen Darwen West’s Cllr Taylor – assistant executive member for health and well being – to take over from current Mayor Cllr Parwaiz Akhtar for 2024-25.

The 74-year-old, first elected in 2010, said: “I’m a very ordinary bloke who inexplicably finds himself as mayor in an extraordinary borough. I was born and bred in Darwen in a two up and two down and am the youngest of six children. Sadly, only my sister Irene and I survive.


“Married to Kathleen, we have four children and five grandchildren. I worked at various levels in the wallpaper industry for 33 years before finishing working life at 72 years old in TV licensing.

“I have concentrated on public health during my council years. My first chosen charity is ‘Cardiac Risk in the Young’ (CRY) as my nephew had a cardiac arrest and died in the gym at 30-years-old.

A view of the Blackburn Town Hall building
Blackburn Town Hall -Credit:James Maloney/LancsLive

"My second chosen charity is ‘Papyrus’, a suicide prevention charity. I’ve lost close relatives to suicide including my nephew and brother-in-law and suicide prevention has been my main driver while working in public health.

“I have lots of empathy for Sylvia – she lost the elections and the chance of being Mayor which she would have been brilliant at.

"My aim for the coming year is to represent all the people in Blackburn with Darwen irrespective of age or ethnicity. I celebrate investments in the borough such as the Darwen Town Deal and the Blakey Moor development.

“I’m very pleased to say that my three daughters are going to be my mayoresses and share the duties between them.”

Cllr Phil Riley, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “I’m sorry how this has come about as Sylvia has given 40 years as a respected public servant. One door closes and another one opens and Brian’s high standards make him an excellent choice, especially given all the great times ahead in Darwen.”

Mrs Liddle said: “I wish my friend and colleague Cllr Brian Taylor every success throughout his Mayoral year.
“I’ve every confidence he will enjoy his new role and make a fine Mayor – he has my full support and I wish him well.”