TRIBUTES have been paid to an East Lancashire landlady, who died at the age of 92.

Jean Towers, who once ran the May House Hotel, in Preston New Road, Blackburn, alongside her sister Joan, passed away suddenly at her Brown Hill home.

Her friend of almost 40 years, Betty Lucas, described her as ‘steely, determined, and independent’.

The 71-year-old said: “She always wanted to do things for herself and was very independent. She would only let you help if it was necessary.

“She was very steely, and that’s what kept her going.”

Born at the Commercial Hotel, in Gisburn, on September 4, 1921, in what was then Yorkshire, Miss Towers grew up in the pub trade, while she also studied at Blackburn High School.

During the war, she worked at the Mullard factory, which was making munitions, before later moving to the Thorn Inn, one of Burnley’s most appreciated buildings, and then to the White Bull, in Church Street, Blackburn.

Betty said: “It was a huge hotel with beautiful woodwork. In the 60s, the council demolished the hotel and Jean never really forgave them for that.”

Miss Towers, who never married or had children, went on to turn the May House Hotel into a popular venue, before retiring in the 1970s.

An animal lover, she cared for several cats and dogs, and would take her beloved springer spaniel Simon on the bus with her, often joking he had his own bus pass. Betty said: “She was a Conservative supporter and when she retired, she worked on several mayoress committees, raising money for the hospice and for the first MRI scanner the hospital got.”

Miss Towers was also involved with the Blackburn Amateur Dramatics Society, the Nancy Derbyshire Trust, and chaired the students’ association at the Four Lanes End College, where she had enrolled on a floristry course taught by Betty.

Despite struggling with arthritis, Miss Towers avoided the doctors.

She died at home, ‘where she would have wanted’, on Tuesday, August 12, Betty said.

“She was determined to stay at home, and that’s what she did,” she added.

Miss Towers’ funeral will be held at St Mark’s Church, Buncer Lane, Blackburn, at 2pm on Friday.