Pride at posthumous Blackpool Medal awards to Brian London, Peter Callow and Lily Henderson

The dedication of three Blackpool citizens to their home town was celebrated as one of the resort's highest honours was handed out to their families at a special Town Hall ceremony.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Friday, 6th May 2022, 2:23 pm

The Blackpool Medal was awarded posthumously to former councillors Peter Callow and Lily Henderson and boxing legend Brian London.

They were each recognised with presentations by Blackpool Mayor Coun Amy Cross for outstanding commitment and actions, which are continuing to make an impact even after their deaths.

Brian London's 13-year-old grandson Jack, who collected the medal and certificate on behalf of his family, revealed he now had his own ambitions of following his grandfather into the ring.

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Brian London's family - daughter Melanie Garside, son Brian Harper, grandson Jack Harper and son Jack Harper

The pupil at AKS in Lytham is training at Brian Rose's gym in Blackpool.

He was joined by Brian London's children at the ceremony - sons Brian and Jack, and daughter Melanie.

Melanie said: "We're all very proud to receive this today and he would have been very proud because he loved Blackpool.

"The medal and certificate will be treasured by the family."

Lily Henderson's family - Victoria Da Silva and David Henderson with Mayor Coun Amy Cross.

Brian, who died in June 2021, aged 87, was the British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion from 1958 to 1959.

He twice fought for the world heavyweight title, against boxing greats Floyd Patterson in 1959 and Muhammad Ali in 1966.

Later in life Brian, who moved to Blackpool from Hartlepool when he was 16, became a successful businessman and owned the 007 night club in Topping Street.

Coun Tony Williams, who proposed him for the medal, said: "During a long and mainly successful career lasting more than a decade, he shared the ring with no less than four world champions."

Peter Callow's family - Coun Maxine Callow and her daughter Nancy with Mayor Coun Amy Cross.

He added: "He will be remembered with fondness and respect as an ambassador for the town."

Lily Henderson, who died in December 2020, aged 94, was 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.

A long-standing councillor, former Mayor and recipient of an MBE for her services to scouting, she was also a passionate fan of tennis and Blackpool Football Club.

Coun Don Clapham said: "Even though she had failing sight and mobility, she continued to work for her constituents from her own home.

The Blackpool Medal

"She is the only person I know who had the officers visit her home for meetings, instead of coming here to the Town Hall."

Her award was collected by her son David Henderson, the leader of Wyre Council, and her daughter Victoria Da Silva, who was also awarded the MBE in 2015 for services to scouting.

Peter Callow, who died in November 2020 , aged 81, was council leader when the decision was taken to buy the Tower and Winter Gardens, bringing them into public ownership and sparking new investment.

Coun Tony Williams told how he had also secured funding to save the Blackpool Tramway, while current council leader Coun Lynn Williams said Peter had "loved Blackpool and was very proud of being a third generation Sandgrown'un".

Accepting the medal alongside their daughter Nancy, Peter's wife Coun Maxine Callow recalled how he had had the idea of awarding the Blackpool Medal after he wanted to honour paralympian Shelly Woods.

She said: "It is a very proud moment for me this evening and this is something I will treasure."

Peter Callow
Lily Henderson
Brian London.