Ex-councillors recognised for decades of dedication
Six former Blackpool councillors have been formally recognised for their years of service.
Henry Mitchell of Bispham, Val Haynes of Hawes Side, Sylvia Taylor of Claremont, Peter Evans of Stanley, Joy Delves of Warbreck and Brian Doherty of Park wards were each awarded the title of Honorary Alderman at a special event at Blackpool Town Hall on Monday.
The title of Honorary Alderman is given to people who have delivered exceptional service to the council, but are no longer serving members.
The six former councillors, who retired last year, are the first aldermen named in Blackpool in 40 years.
Councillors must serve a minimum of 15 years in order to be considered for the prestigious title, which invites them to support the mayor and make special appearances at civic ceremonial events.
Anchorsholme councillor Tony Williams, who attended the event, said: “They were six excellent councillors who were greatly missed within the council chamber and their own wards.
“They all did great work supporting their communities and they were involved in a lot of ground-breaking work that was put forward in Blackpool over the last few years.
“Coun Sylvia Taylor did a lot of work with young people in the town.
“Brian Doherty worked very hard on Park ward and people really appreciated him.
“Joy was the council representative for Blackpool on the local fire authority and she spent a great deal of time working through changes with them.
“Henry Mitchell was chair of the licensing committee for a long, long time and did a lot of work with the taxi services in Blackpool and helped them develop with regards to new legislation that came in.
“Val Haynes is a previous mayor of Blackpool and she worked extremely hard on her duties and was a great ambassador for the town.
“Peter Evans was chair of planning for many years and he oversaw a lot of innovative changes that we made in Blackpool, especially during the past eight years.
“It was an excellent event and very moving.
“They all gave a little speech saying how grateful they were.
“It’s the first time we have named an Honorary Alderman in 40 years and Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn and myself were determined that they should be celebrated.
“We lose good colleagues all the time, either through retirement or through the ballot box, and we don’t do enough in recognition of the work they have done.
“Rather than just let them fade away into retirement, we want them to know we do appreciate the work they have done.
“Now as aldermen they will continue to be ambassadors for Blackpool and will be invited to special events.
“It’s quite an achievement and the least we can do to show our appreciation.”
Coun Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “When it became clear six of our long serving colleagues, who have a huge wealth of talent and experience, were standing down at the last election, I decided that their extensive public service to local communities and the town as a whole made them very worthy candidates to become Aldermen of the Borough. After some quiet cross-party conversations, we were able to obtain a political consensus around the idea.
“The role of Aldermen means that we can still retain their experience and dedication to the town within the council, recognise and honour their long service, and help them to remain part of the local government family. After more than 18 months of behind the scenes work, it was lovely to finally see the ceremony.”