Blackburn with Darwen: Health chief to retire after key Covid role

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Professor Harrison
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Prof Dominic Harrison says the fight against Covid has been a career highlight "in a sad way"

A public health boss, who has been one of the leading voices in Lancashire in the battle against coronavirus, has announced his retirement.

Blackburn with Darwen Council's Public Health Director, Prof Dominic Harrison, 62, said he would leave his post on 31 March.

Politicians have praised his work in the fight against Covid-19, describing him as a "rock" and a "real leader".

Council leader Mohammed Khan said he would be a "very hard act to follow".

He has been integral in highlighting health inequalities that have been brought to the fore during the pandemic and he called for vaccines for under-18s in June.

Prof Harrison said it had been an "honour and a privilege" to lead the borough through the pandemic, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

"It has been the highlight of my career in public health in a sad way," he added.

Labour councillor Khan said: "Aside from being a highly knowledgeable and well-respected public health expert, he is a fantastic communicator and a wonderful man."

Tory group leader, councillor John Slater, agreed he had been a "rock and a real leader".

Blackburn MP Kate Hollern said Prof Harrison had "championed the fight against health inequalities within Blackburn and the country at large".

"We have been so fortunate to have him serve our community, he will be missed but we wish him a fantastic retirement," she added.

Prof Harrison, who was born in Salford and grew up in Darlington, gained a Masters degree in public health from Liverpool University.

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