Cancer can’t stop councillor’s work

Coun Jim Holdsworth
Coun Jim Holdsworth
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A BLACKPOOL councillor has vowed to continue to serve the town’s people despite battling a deadly lung disease.

Doctors have told Jim Houldsworth he has months to live – but the 69-year-old is determined to carry out his duties as Marton ward councillor.

Coun Houldsworth, who is the vice-chairman of the Fylde Ex-Service Liaison Committee and has been instrumental in the success of the annual Armed Forces Week in Blackpool, said: “I have good days and bad days, I just take every day as it comes.

“I’d like to thank the residents of Marton for the support I have been given over the years and the many friends I have made.

“During this time I have built a team up around me so the work will go on.

“It will not suffer and all the residents’ queries are still being answered.”

Coun Houldsworth says he began suffering with a cough in May and after numerous trips to the doctors he was diagnosed with mesothelioma – cancer in the lining of his lungs, which develops as a result of coming into contact with asbestos.

He added: “I was a plumber in the building trade, I started an apprenticeship when I was 15. The run out pipes, gutters and lagging were all made out of asbestos. We didn’t wear protective gear, we had never even heard of it in those days.”

Coun Houldsworth spent two weeks in hospital in August but has now been allowed to return home where a district nurse, Cancer Care team and Macmillan nurses visit him.

The grandfather, who re-married last September, is being cared for by his wife, Jacqueline.

He added: “She is wrapping me in cotton wool. We are enjoying life and many memories. I’m a lucky man.

“We’ve just returned from the Lake District where I managed to put on a stone by judging the best cream scones from the Lakes!

“I feel in a way it is a blessing I am being given the time to say thank you to the many people who have added to the rich tapestry of my life, so many happy memories to re-live.

“Over the coming weeks or months I will try to recall the many people who have added to that tapestry.”

Coun Houldsworth says he has been inundated with letters and emails of support from the local community.

Marton Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Mary Naylor said: “He’s the most amazing man I’ve ever met. He’s a true gentleman, nothing is ever too much trouble. He’s always been there for residents.

“I’m not politically minded but he’s the first person in politics I’ve been impressed with. He has put the heart back into Marton.

“It’s heartbreaking for all of us. It’s hard for all the family but they have got a fabulous family.”