Community buses to escort Cllr John Blackie to funeral service

Cllr John Blackie (centre) at the Hawes filling station with Cllr Carl Les, (far left), North Yorkshire’s Leader, volunteer drivers of the Little White Bus and Upper Dales residents.

Two Little White Buses will escort the hearse carrying Upper Dales councillor John Blackie to his funeral next week.

Cllr Blackie died on July 13 following a long battle with cancer.

Well-wishers are invited to say goodbye to the community leader as the procession makes its way from Richmond to the service at Hardraw, via Hawes on Monday, July 29.

The route will take in many of the Upper Dales communities which Cllr Blackie represented for many years at parish, district and county level.

The Little White Bus service was one of many community initiatives which the councillor instigated and oversaw.

The procession will leave Richmond at 9.30am on Monday and travel to Reeth, up Swaledale and over the Buttertubs into Wensleydale.

It will then pass through Hawes town centre at around 10.50pm, before heading to Appersett and then on to Hardaw.

Cllr Blackie’s partner Jill McMullon said: “I think it would be nice if people from the Upper Dales could come out and line the roads to say farewell as John passes — I think he would have liked that.”

The funeral will be a private family service at St Mary and St John’s Church, Hardraw.

Family flowers only have been requested. Donations can be made if desired to Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Macmillan Cancer Support.

A celebration of Cllr Blackie’s life will then be held at 1.30pm on Friday, September 27 at St Margaret’s Church in Hawes.