A former mayor of Brighton has died on his 63rd wedding anniversary.

John Blackman, 87, passed away on Sunday at his home in Saltdean.

He and his wife Lilias had been celebrating their anniversary quietly at home when Mr Blackman collapsed.

For the past ten years he had undergone kidney dialysis at home after suffering cancer of the bladder.

Brighton mayor from 1984 to 1985, Mr Blackman was born and raised in the city.

After initially training to be a printer, he joined the Navy and served abroad on HMS Suffolk, eventually becoming a chief petty officer.

Following his return to England in 1946 he married Wren cook Lilias Carmichael, in a Scottish village in Lanarkshire where she was from.

A year later the couple's son, named John after his father, was born.

Mr Blackman then worked in various roles, including as a telephone operator, before setting up his own printing business Carmichael and Co in Hollingdean in 1952.

Six years later they set up a tobacconists in St George's Road which then became a toy shop.

John junior joined the family firm in 1964 and there followed several years of prosperity.

When he was diagnosed with cancer in the early 1970s, Mr Blackman was already a successful Tory councillor.

Among the political friends he made was the then leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, who he would be invited to dine with in London.

From 1997, he had to undergo kidney dialysis with the support of one of his three grandchildren Sarah Francis, 30, who would visit him three times a week for four hours a time to carry out the procedure.

He eventually had problems with his mobility but that never doused his spirit and he maintained his roles as the president of the Rottingdean branch of the Royal British Legion and of the HMS Suffolk Association.

Speaking yesterday, John junior said: “Father was a great man.

“He was the best father in the world.

“He was a lovely man and right up to his death he was always looking for new business ideas and ideas to push the company.

“As a councillor he did a lot for Brighton and dealt with people's problems properly.

“He never claimed any money from the council. He was one of the few who saw it as a civic duty to represent the town and took pride in doing it.”

Mr Blackman's funeral service will be held at St Margaret's Church, Rottingdean, at noon on Tuesday.

The family have asked that donations, instead of flowers, are made to the home dialysis unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton.