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Tributes to two retiring town JPs

Frank Shipway (centre), chairman of the Fylde Coast Bench, made presentations to Blackpool Magistrates Alec Sugden and Irene Walton, who are retiring after 15 and 29 years respectively.

Frank Shipway (centre), chairman of the Fylde Coast Bench, made presentations to Blackpool Magistrates Alec Sugden and Irene Walton, who are retiring after 15 and 29 years respectively.

Magistrates held a special celebration to mark the retirement of two of Blackpool’s most respected JPs.

Colleagues said Alec Sugden and Irene Walton will be “nigh on impossible to replace” after 44 years of service between them.

Both volunteered their time to the bench, overseeing everything from family law to efforts to ensure people do not re-offend.

Mrs Walton, 70, has been a magistrate in Blackpool for 29 years, in which time she set up the Sentencing Review Panel which was designed to monitor the progress of offenders attempting to overcome 
addiction.

She said: “I love working with people, you hope some of the things you can do for people will be helpful. If you don’t see them again then it’s been a success.”

Mr Sugden, 70, appointed to the Lytham bench in 1999, was part of the same panel and was also a member of the Family Panel – made up of magistrates which oversee family court proceedings – for 10 years.

He said: “It’s been a pleasure to serve the community.”

Chairman of the Fylde coast bench, Frank Shipway JP, said: “It is with great sadness that we are to lose the services of two highly respected colleagues.

“Alec Sugden’s capacity for sound judgement coupled with the wise counsel he brings will be sorely missed.

“Irene Walton’s considerable experience and expertise will be nigh on impossible to replace.”

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