Stalwart of court says fond farewell

Frank Shipway, chairman of the Fylde coast bench, presents Anne Smith with a certificate as she retires from her role.

Frank Shipway, chairman of the Fylde coast bench, presents Anne Smith with a certificate as she retires from her role.

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A magistrate of three decades is stepping down from the bench after a distinguished career.

Anne Smith, 70, will now pursue her love of studying insects after leaving her role at Blackpool Magistrates Court.

During her career, Miss Smith rose to the position of deputy chief of the bench and was a founding member of the Bench Training and Development Committee – a body responsible for training and development of magistrates.

Miss Smith, from Poulton, was also responsible for appointing magistrates during the 1990s and served for nine years on the Lord Lieutenant’s Advisory Committee.

She said: “I’m going to enjoy my retirement but it’s strange.

“I will miss the people I sat with and meeting the defendants because there’s such a lot of variety in the job and you never knew which cases you were going to deal with.

“It could’ve been traffic matters one day or really serious violence the next and you never knew what could be thrown at you.”

Miss Smith says dealing with those responsible for the death of 21 cockle pickers at Morecambe Bay in 2004 stands out as the case she remembers the most.

She added: “There were some particularly sad cases like the cockle pickers and sometimes, when you hear of people’s circumstances, it’s difficult to imagine how they cope.”

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