SACRED Heart Church in Westhoughton was packed as Bolton turned out to honour well-loved former Mayor Guy Harkin.

The emotional funeral saw family members, friends and former colleagues attend to pay tribute.

Alderman Harkin died on Saturday, January 11, aged 72 and was a prominent figure on the Bolton political scene during nearly 40 years of public service.

Among those in attendance were current Mayor of Bolton Cllr Hilary Fairclough, Leader of Bolton Council Cllr David Greenhalgh and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.

Rev Peter Hopkinson, who led the service, described reading touching notes in commemorative cards addressed to Alderman Harkin.

The Bolton News:

He said: “His walking with us made a difference. Here are some things I’ve picked out: ‘family man’, ‘a good friend’, ‘humourous’, ‘supportive’, ‘much respected’–– a credit to Bolton and a credit to his family.”

His son Sean Harkin spoke about his father and described his humble beginnings as the first in his family to go to university, something which had made his parents incredibly proud.

He also talked about his sporting prowess, which saw him run the Bolton Marathon in a shade over three hours, as well as several other tough challenges he took on.

He said: “The world could have been his oyster, but he was drawn back to the town that he loved. The Bolton that he loved. Thanks for the memories, Dad.”

He added that his dad loved fishing and among many other things would be remembered for his long years of public service.

Ald Harkin was born in Farnworth and worked as a lecturer in management.

He was first elected as a Labour councillor for the Daubhill ward in 1980 where he served for 24 years, including 21 years as the deputy council leader.

Between 2012 and 2013 he served as the Mayor of Bolton, with his wife Colette as Mayoress, and was made an Honourary Alderman in 2019.

Council leader Cllr David Greenhalgh said: “Guy was respected across all parties as a fine orator, and talented politician. When Guy Harkin spoke, you may not always have agreed with it, but you listened. He had a natural presence."