Blackpool Mayor Amy recalls highlights of historic three year term

A trip to the Palace was a memorable way for Blackpool Mayor Coun Amy Cross to round off her historic term as first citizen of the town.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 2:53 pm

She was joined by her mum after being invited to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in the penultimate week of her time in office.

Coun Cross was Blackpool's youngest ever Mayor when she was inaugurated in May 2019, aged 30. Little did she know what lay ahead as Covid led to lockdowns and put the brakes on her civic duties.

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Coun Amy Cross at her mayoral inauguration in 2019

As a result her mayoralty was extended, first into a second year and then into a third year.

But on Wednesday May 18 she will finally hand over the mayoral chain to Coun Kath Benson at a Town Hall ceremony.

Coun Cross says her unusual three-year tenure has been "a privilege" but nevertheless admits she is ready "to get her life back".

She said: "It's been such a privilege to represent the town, and especially for me because it's my home town.

Blackpool Mayor Amy Cross observes the 2 minute silence outside her home on Armistice Day during lockdown

"But after three years it will be nice to get my life back and be able to walk into a supermarket without getting collared!

"I wasn't able to do everything I wanted to do because of Covid, but despite that there have been some real highlights.

"One of them was when we invited children from local schools and the police cadets here for a Christmas event and they played hide and seek.

"I thought what better way to explore the Town Hall than hiding under tables!"

Blackpool Mayor Coun Amy Cross presents the Blackpool Medal to Coun Maxine Callow and her daughter Nancy in recognition of Peter Callow.

During her three years, Coun Cross has raised around £40,000 for her chosen charity Empowerment, which provides a voice for disadvantaged people in Blackpool.

She said: "This will make a huge difference to a small charity which provides support and advocacy to people who can't do that for themselves."

Lockdowns meant Coun Cross had to bring the mayoralty right up to date, using the latest technology to meet people over Zoom and on screens as gatherings were restricted.

But the relevance of the historic civic role to Blackpool remains as strong as ever.

She said: "A lot of organisations which come to Blackpool for their AGMs or conferences like the mayor to be there.

"They see it as something which is special, so that's important for the town and the hospitality industry, We need to keep those hotels and b&bs busy."

One of her most recent roles was to posthumously award the Blackpool Medal to former councillors Peter Callow and Lily Henderson, and former boxer Brian London, whose families attended the ceremony to accept the honours.

It has not all been easy, with Coun Cross hospitalised for two weeks in 2021 after being diagnosed with joint issues which affected her mobility.

She added: "I would also like to say thank you to my residents in Ingthorpe for allowing me to be mayor and the support from my friends and family to do the job.

"Thanks to Paula Burdess and Jim Hobson as my deputies, and those that stood in for me when I was in hospital.

"Blackpool is an amazing place that I've been proud to represent and good luck to Kath Benson, another Blackpool lass."