TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known Blackburn doctor who has died from cancer at the age of 80.

Although he retired almost 20 years ago, many people will remember Dr Michael Peter Mahoney as running ward seven at Blackburn Royal Infirmary.

Dr Mahoney, who lived in Wilpshire, trained at the Welsh National School of Medicine, in Cardiff, where he met his wife-to-be, Frances, when they were both medical students.

During his time at the Blackburn hospital, where he was appointed in June 1970, he started a medical library so doctors and nurses would have access to the latest journals and books.

And with friend and colleague, Dr Frank Lewis, a consultant radiologist, he used an endowment fund to start a radio isotope scan facility, which was the precursor of the nucl-ear medicine unit used today.

Dr Mahoney also pioneered the endoscopy unit to investigate gastro-enter-ology illnesses.

Outside the hospital, Dr Mahoney enjoyed photog-raphy and clay pigeon shooting, and attended Rishton Clay Pigeon shoot, as well as Blackburn Gun Club. He was also fascin-ated by trying to under-stand how things worked, and had a keen interest in steam engines, and DIY.

Dr Mahoney died after being cared for at East Lancashire Hospice, where he was looked after by for-mer colleagues.

He leaves his widow Frances, children Peter, Paul, Sara, Michael and Damien, and grandchild-ren Naomi, Kieran, Dion, Amelie, Dylan and Rose.

His son, Damien said: “He had a good relationship with colleagues and nurs-es, all working as a team to do their best for their patients.

“Perhaps because he did not enjoy good health himself for much of his life, he had great sympathy for sick people, and would frequently visit patients at their homes, or in hospital, in his own time, and would never refuse a telephone call for his advice at any time of day.

“He was a man with very strong principles and a sense of what was right.

“He stuck up for his patients, and anyone who he felt was being let down, mistreated or on the wrong end of a misjustice.

“But he had a a very dry sense of humour, which persisted right to the end, even when suffering a lot with cancer and other health problems.

“I’m proud that so many people I’ve known in Black- burn over the years have told me how well he look-ed after them, or their relatives, during his med-ical career.”