Blackpool Medal for councillors who devoted their lives to resort

Two former Blackpool councillors are to be honoured with the Blackpool Medal in recognition of their devotion to the town during their lives.

Friday, 12th February 2021, 10:17 am
Updated Friday, 12th February 2021, 10:20 am

Peter Callow, who died on November 24, aged 81, and Lily Henderson, who died on December 17, aged 94, will each receive the posthumous award.

Council leader Coun Lynn Williams made the announcement at a meeting of the full council where tributes were paid from across all parties to the former councillors.

She said the medal was awarded to those whose contributions to the borough went “beyond what is normally expected of a citizen”.

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Former council leader Peter Callow

Coun Williams added: “At times like this when loss is felt so profoundly by loved ones, it is hard to convey feelings of condolence adequately.

“I hope the awarding of the medal in recognition, in appreciation and with affection will go a small way to provide some comfort to the families.”

The decision will be formally agreed at the next annual meeting of the council, before the medals are awarded at a special meeting.

Previous recipients of the Blackpool Medal are paralympian Shelley Woods in 2008, Blackpool Football Club in 2010, and former councillor Jim Houldsworth in 2012.

Former councillor Lily Henderson

Peter Callow took the historic decision to buy the Tower, Winter Gardens and Golden Mile Centre when he was leader of the council in 2010, as part of a £40m deal. He also served as mayor of the town in 2015/16.

Lily Henderson became the oldest councillor in the country to retain her seat when she was re-elected in Highfield ward at the May 2019 local elections, aged 92.

She was mayor in 2003/04 and received the MBE in 2005 for her work with volunteers in the community.

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams led tributes at the meeting, citing Peter Callow’s “courage and determination” to buy the Tower for the town when its future was uncertain, while Independent councillor Gary Coleman said he “would go down in the history of Blackpool”.

Coun Don Clapham described Lily Henderson as “the matriarch of the council”, who “was a warrior with a heart of gold”.

Tributes were also paid to former Blackpool Mayoress Barbara Hardy, who died on December 27, aged 83, and who had held the role when her husband Norman Hardy was Mayor in 2009/10.