A FORMER borough Mayoress has died suddenly after being taken ill while on holiday in India.

Jacqueline Humphrys died, aged 74, at the Royal Blackburn Hospital last weekend less than a month after developing back pains during a long-anticipated trip to the holiday resort of Goa with her former councillor husband Tony.

She was originally diagnosed with a slipped disc, then possible tuberculosis and finally cancer.

Mrs Humphrys, known as Jackie, acted as consort to her husband during his year as Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen in 2002/2003.

The couple had been teenage sweethearts but went their separate ways before meeting again in the 1990s and marrying.

Mrs Humphrys had four children - Joseph, Stephen, Jackie and the late Lee - from her first marriage.

Her husband has five from his first marriage - Angela, Donna, Mark, Kimberley and Tony. She also leaves 15 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Her husband was a Labour councillor for 27 years.

Mr Humphrys,74, said: “We courted as teenagers but then broke up over something silly as you do at that age. We met again in the 1990s and were married for 23 years. She was a wonderful woman. We were very happy.

“Jackie was a great support to me as a councillor and really threw herself into being my Mayoress. It was a great shock. It was all so sudden.

“She had been looking forward to our holiday last month in India for ages. She had always wanted to go there. The first week Jackie was great - laughing, joking and having fun. Then she got back pains and went to hospital in India and we were told it was a slipped disc.

“It got worse and we went to the hospital here.She was first diagnosed with possible tuberculosis and then cancer of the spine and lungs. We were told it was incurable but she should have another four or five years but she got worse and died last Saturday.

“My wife was much-loved and will be greatly missed by the family and many others.”

Cllr Andy Kay said: “Jackie was a very humourous woman. She had a down-to-earth common sense approach to life. She was great support to Tony and to his council work, especially in his Mayoral year.”

A civic funeral service will be held at Blackburn Cathedral conduced by the Dean, the Very Rev Peter Howell-Jones, on April 23 at 1pm prior to a private committal.