BLACKBURN College has named a lecture theatre after a much-loved governor.

John Thomas said he was ‘honoured’ to have a lecture theatre named after him after standing down from his Corporation Board role last week.

Before retiring in 2005, John was chief executive of Blackburn Hospital, a role that he had served since 1993, overseeing the move to a single site in Haslingden Road.

The father-of-two had his portrait painted by Blackburn College artist Mariam Iqbal as well as having the lecture theatre named after him in the University Centre.

“I am proud of my association with Blackburn College,” said 57-year-old John. “I was born in Shropshire but Blackburn is special to me.

“Blackburn College has helped thousands of people from the area to improve their lives through education and training and will continue to do so.

“In 12 years, I’ve seen a massive transformation. When I arrived, the new Victoria building was just being completed and now we have St Paul’s, the University Centre, the Beacon Centre, the Sir Bill Taylor Futures Centre and we are close to completing another two projects, the Regional Automotive Hub (RATH) and new Sports complex.

“These last two will complete the College’s masterplan. The campus now has the ‘wow’ factor.”

Chair of governors Sir Bill Taylor said: “At Blackburn College, John has been a mentor and guiding light to many of the governors for a number of years.

“He is a strong gentleman and a gentle strong man — something a lot of people can only aspire to.”

John and wife Jen plan to travel while John has agreed to take on a ‘less demanding’ role as Trustee of Age UK in Blackburn with Darwen.