Tributes to Peter Burton MBE - ‘Mr Industry’

Peter Burton for Tim Power feature.
Peter Burton for Tim Power feature.
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Tributes have been paid to a much liked and respected Calderdale industry leader following his death at the age of 95.

Peter Burton MBE, of Highroad Well, Halifax, held a number of positions in Calderdale Council, was a Calderdale head for Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and before his retirement in 2009, was a consultant policy advisor and researcher.

Peter Burton for Tim Power feature.

Peter Burton for Tim Power feature.

Mr Burton was born in Bradford in 1920 but spent his first few years in India, where his father was a civil servant.

He was educated in this country and after completing his schooling, decided to go to Germany to learn the language, intending to use it in a business career.

His studies as a day student at Berlin University proved to be a much wider education as his time there was just prior to the outbreak of the second world war. And when war did break out, Mr Burton joined the Home Guard while waiting to be called up for the Indian Army. He signed on the day after war was declared.

From 1940 to 1946, he was in India and Burma serving with the Indian Army and rose to the rank of Major. He won the Military Cross for an operation to hold a key jungle position against the Japanese.

After the war years, Mr Burton went into industry in Bradford, working in various jobs from 1946 to 1971. It was also during that time he served as a councillor for Skipton Rural District Council and the West Riding County Council. He joined Halifax Borough Council in 1972 to help run the clean-up campaign scheme called “Operation Eyesore” - the first scheme of its kind.

Reorganisation of the Local Authority came in 1974, when Mr Burton’s post was extended to Calderdale. It was one of the first appointments of its type in the country. He then became industrial development officer for the council, a post which saw him become a key link between council corridors and the world of work. He was also a founder and secretary of the Association of Industrial Development Officers, which aimed to make industrial development a profession and develop links between local government and industry.

In 1984, his successful efforts and major contributions to the region were recognised by the Queen, when he was awarded the MBE for services to industry.

It was his experience which stood him good stead for a number of roles with the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce after falling victim to compulsory retirement regulations at the age of 65. He worked for the Chamber until his retirement in 2009.

Mr Burton is survived by his three children and his funeral will be held at Halifax Minster on June 7 at 1.15pm.