AN exhibition in tribute to a much-loved local historian is taking place in Horwich this month.

David Owen, who spent years researching the history of Rivington, Westhoughton and Horwich, died in September, aged 83.

Horwich Heritage has dedicated its next open day to Mr Owen and will exhibit work from his extensive research, including the Lost Farms of Rivington and Anglezarke, one of the many subjects on which he was an authority, with other material from his local research.

On Saturday, May 18, between 10am and noon, Horwich Heritage Centre, in Beaumont Road, will be transformed.

David Clayton, the former head of history at Burnley Grammar School, will speak about Mr Owen’s extensive research into the lost farms.

Westhoughton Local History Group will pay its own tribute to the historian and his mining expertise, by launching its new book on The Coal Mines of Westhoughton at the event.

Mr Owen grew up in Rivington as the son of the Rivington Church minister and attended Rivington and Blackrod Grammar School.

He studied Rivington’s past including its families, farms, datestones, churches, myths and legends, and much of his work has been turned into publications, available from Horwich Heritage Centre.

After marrying wife Betty, with whom he had four children, Mr Owen moved to Westhoughton and began researching that area, later becoming vice-chairman of Westhoughton Local History Group.

His working life was spent as a mining engineer, and Mr Owen published material, exhibitions and gave talks about the history of mining.

His specialist knowledge was particularly useful when he helped research and commemorate the Pretoria Pit Disaster centenary in 2010.

The group’s secretary Pam Clarke said: “He was an esteemed mentor and advisor to our group and will be remembered with gratitude and affection. He achieved many things in a very fulfilling life and we will miss his sharp wit, sense of humour and endless fund of anecdotes and stories.”

Horwich Heritage chairman, Stuart Whittle, said: “We felt it was entirely fitting that David’s life and major contribution to local history should be commemorated in this way and we hope as many people as possible from Horwich, Rivington and Westhoughton will join us on the day.”