British teacher and cricketer who worked in East Africa dies aged 85

Malcolm Blackburn
Malcolm Blackburn

A British sportsman who taught in East Africa and was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Millennium Honours List for his services to the community of Clitheroe has died at the age of 85.

Former Clitheroe CC 1st XI captain, Malcolm Blackburn, enjoyed a cricket career which lasted almost 60 years, the highlight of which was playing a test match for Uganda against Kenya in the 1960s.

Born to Harold and Bertha Blackburn in 1934, Malcolm attended Pendle County Primary School and Clitheroe Royal Grammar School before studying at Liverpool University.

Serving in the Army during his national service, he rose to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Army Education Corps before beginning his career as a chemistry teacher.

Following three years on the staff at Hutton Grammar School, newly married Harold headed out to teach in East Africa shortly with his wife Judith. 

During his two-year period in the region, the accomplished batsman was called up to the Ugandan national team in his only international cap for a test match against Kenya.

After his return to the UK, Malcolm taught at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School and Turton High School before being appointed deputy head at St Wilfrid’s in Blackburn in 1975. He held this position for the next twenty years and was highly regarded. 

Away from work, he served as a magistrate on the Blackburn, Darwen and Ribble Valley Bench for 22 years and was a life-long supporter of Blackburn Rovers.

He was also heavily involved with Clitheroe Cricket Club and captained the first team on two occasions. A highly successful coach, he led an under-15s team, which included his son and nephew, to be crowned county champions at Old Trafford in the mid-1980’s. 

He was also supported the Samaritans in Blackburn along with various charities including Population Concern, and was a lifelong member of St James’ Church, Clitheroe, serving as a Sunday School teacher for many years. 

Serving as chairman of governors at St James’ CE Primary School for 10 years, after his retirement Malcolm was responsible for setting up its after-school club. 

Malcolm passed away in the Nelson Manor Care Home earlier this month after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. He is survived by his wife Judith and three sons – Stephen, Richard and Martin and six grandchildren.

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