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Memorial lecture tribute to local historian Ray Smith

Published Wednesday 8 May 2019 at 11:12

A memorial lecture is being held in tribute to a local historian.

Named after his home town, Raymond Blackburn Smith, died in May 2018.  Over many years, Ray generously supported Blackburn Library’s Community History section with his time and resources and was a founder member and chairman of Blackburn Local History Society.

The ‘Ray Smith Memorial Lecture’ is a commemorative tribute being hosted by Blackburn Central Library as a celebration of Ray Smith’s contribution to local history in Blackburn and the surrounding areas.  The theme of the lecture is ‘Blackburn Steeplechases’.  It will be held at Blackburn Central Library on Tuesday 14 May at 7pm.

Ray’s input to Blackburn with Darwen Library and Information Service’s digital history website www.cottontown.org has been significant and leaves a lasting legacy.  Ray was a member of ‘The Cotton Town Steering Group’ and helped to provide information for Blackburn’s World War 1 digital Roll of Honour. The library has received poignant messages from site visitors worldwide who have learned of relatives that lost their lives in the Great War.  It was Ray’s dedication and hard work, along with the work of other volunteers, which enabled the creation of this resource.

Over the years, Ray produced several lists relating to various Blackburn subjects such as public houses and famous Blackburn people. The ‘Blackburn Encyclopedia’ compiled and researched by Ray is available on the Cotton Town website.  Just before his death Ray was researching men from Blackburn that died during World War 2.

In the course of his work Ray supported, encouraged and nurtured many other individuals and organisations.  Ray was also a ‘Friend of Blackburn Museum’ and a supporter of the ‘Friends of Blackburn Old Cemetery’ to name just a few.

Sport was also important to Ray and he gave his time freely when he took up the role as President of the East Lancashire Golf Association.  He enjoyed many sports such as golf, snooker, cricket and bowling and was a member of Blackburn Subscription Bowling Club.

Patrick (Paddy) Brown will present the memorial lecture.  Paddy was born and bred in the area and is passionately interested in local history and sport.  He has recently published his first book ‘Remembering Whalley: to commemorate 100 years since the Armistice’.

To book a place contact library@blackburn.gov.uk or collect a ticket from the information desk at Blackburn Central Library.

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