Former Pleasure Beach musician and Blackpool schoolboy Andrew Parmley receives knighthood
The ex-Lord Mayor Of London Dr Andrew Parmley - who grew up in South Shore and was musical director at Blackpool Pleasure Beach - has spoken of his delight at receiving a knighthood in the New Year's Honours.
Dr Parmley, honoured for services to music education and civic engagement, said the title was extra special having recognised his work with music and education with his civic work 'tagged on the end'.
"It used to be that if you became Lord Mayor you got the gong automatically, but now you have to have made a significant contribution to life as well," he said to The Gazette, from holiday in Sydney, Australia.
"I'm especially pleased that it has taken into account the significant contribution Wendy [my wife] and I have made, to do our bit for music and education.
"As a long-term teacher of music and diction as part of that, I'm not sure about rolling the title into my name 'Sirandrew', I'll certainly be staying Andrew to my pals," he added of the honour.
"Being Lord Mayor was a door opener and convenor, and of course you lose that once the year ends - but the knighthood continues that and allows for conversations with people who can make things change."
Dr Parmley, 61, went to Thames Road Primary School and Blackpool Grammar School, where Aspire Academy is now based, before winning a place at the Royal Academy of Music in Manchester.
On graduating, he worked on the popular Showtime On Ice and Holiday On Ice productions at the Pleasure Beach, before moving to London.
He is now principal at The Harrodian fee-paying school in West London, and was Lord Mayor of London in 2016/17.
Although not living in the resort for many years, Dr Parmley's heart very much remains in Blackpool.
He told The Gazette previously: “The vision for the future of Blackpool is fantastic, but it’s going to take a huge amount of will power and energy to get it together.”
* Read reporter Anna Cryer’s exclusive interview with Dr Parmley’s in Monday’s Gazette.