Tributes have been paid to one of the longest serving barbers in the region who has died.

Liaqat Mahmood, who ran Anulit Hairdressers, based in Plane Street died at the age of 65 on Friday.

Funeral prayers were said on Saturday at the Raza Masjid in Randal Street before burial at Pleasington cemetery.

Mr Mahmood, was more commonly known as Lala George Patel to generations of families who visited his barbers just off Whalley New Road.

Mr Mahmood opened his first barbers, aged 24, in 1982 in Palm Street. 

He later moved to premises off Plane Street, which was accessible through a back alley and up some stairs, before opening a shop front on the same road in 2018.

It still had his iconic sign above the door featuring the flags of Pakistan, India and Great Britain.

It was unsure why he came up with this signage but to many it signified an appeal to everyone to unite.

His ‘incredible’ 99p Thursday offer often led to queues forming outside his premises.

Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, Councillor Parwaiz Akhtar, said: “I knew him for over 40 years and he was such a warm-hearted person.

“He always had smile on his face. He was a pillar of our community and he will missed but not forgotten.”

Faz Patel said Mr Mahmood’s low prices were sign of ‘generosity’ on his part.

Faz said: “Uncle Liaqat was a man with a heart of gold and the cheapest barber in the UK.

"His £3.50 haircuts were more than just affordable, they were a symbol of his generosity and kindness. 

“Visiting his shop was always a delight, not just for the great haircut but for the genuine conversations we shared. 

“Lala George had a unique ability to make everyone feel welcome and listened to. He created a warm and friendly atmosphere that will be deeply missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him."

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Councillor Shaukat Hussain said: “Mr Mahmood will be sadly missed.

"He was hugely popular figure and was well known for reaching out into the community hence his nickname ‘Lala George Patel’. His shop goes back many decades.

“He had a big following amongst the elderly and he was always keen to help them out and give discounts.

“He was known for his interest in Bollywood movies and also had treats for children when they went for a haircut.

“He always gave up his time for community clean ups. A visit to his shop ended with you hearing some honest advice and wonderful tales.”

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph in 2020, Mr Mahmood said: “I remember when I started I used to do kids haircuts for 50p and adults for 99p.

"Then in the late nineties I decided to do the 99p offer again for one day only. It got very busy.

“Even now I only charge £3.50 a cut.”

He added: “I have people who have been coming here for close to 40 years.

"I have got loyal customers and I think if I do ever retire they would probably come knocking on my door!”