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Newspaper honours ‘much loved’ councillor with super-sized front page

A regional daily paid tribute to a “much-loved” councillor by providing a super-sized mock-up front page at his funeral.

The Gazette, Blackpool, received the unusual request to create the mock-up after the death of Councillor Eddie Collett, a former Mayor of the town.

Cllr Collett was affectionately known as ‘Knock It Down Collett’ during his time serving on Blackpool Council because of his love of regeneration in the town, and the front page, pictured below, featured the headline ‘Start up the bulldozers’.

Mourners attending a private gathering after the funeral of the councillor, who was 58 and had battled cancer, were greeted with the A1-sized mock-up having entered Blackpool Town Hall under a pair of diggers parked outside.

Eddie Collet tribute

Gazette deputy editor Andy Sykes said: “As requests go, it was rather unusual, but one we were happy to carry out.

“The original headline, on 14 July, was with regards to a story about the long-awaited demolition of a group of fire-hit eyesore hotels on Blackpool promenade.

“This obviously captured the imagination of the council leader and Eddie himself who concocted this idea.

“It didn’t take long to create and was placed on an easel inside the town hall for all the funeral guests to see following the service.

“We were delighted to help out and provide a memorable farewell for a man who was much-loved in the town and extremely well-respected by my colleagues at The Gazette.”

The request had come to The Gazette after Cllr Collett’s Labour colleagues on the authority – Simon Blackburn, Graham Cain and Gillian Campbell – discussed funeral plans while visiting him in the town’s Trinity Hospice.

Cllr Blackburn, who leads the council, said: “I pointed out to him that The Gazette had run a front page recently with the headline ‘Send In The Bulldozers’, and he thought it would be hilarious to have a bulldozer outside the Town Hall ready to greet everyone after the funeral. In the event, we managed two bulldozers!

“Having spoken to Eddie’s son, David – who shares his father’s sense of humour – we were delighted that The Gazette was able to produce the fantastic mock-up of their front page – using a fantastic photo of Eddie, as we will all remember him, with a big smile on his face – which will be an even wider smile now we’ve made his wishes come true with this unique tribute to ‘Knock It Down Collett.'”