A COUNCILLOR who has dedicated years of his life to supporting Blackpool’s veteran community has received special praise from the Prime Minister.
Coun Jim Houldsworth had a pleasant surprise when a personal letter from David Cameron arrived unexpectedly at his home.
Mr Cameron praised Coun Houldsworth for his “many loyal years of service and support” for the Conservatives and also recognised his “outstanding” work for the Armed Forces and military veterans.
Coun Houldsworth, who says he has no idea who contacted the Prime Minister to tell him about his work in the community, said: “It came completely out of the blue.
“I have never known a letter sent like it to anyone. I think it’s wonderful.
“It was a big surprise, I feel honoured.”
Since becoming a Marton ward councillor Mr Houldsworth – who is battling the lung disease mesothelioma, a form of cancer in the lining of his lungs – has helped form the Friends of Marton Burial Ground and campaigned for 20mph zones in his ward.
He has also spent years building Blackpool’s reputation as a town synonymous with the services and the annual Armed Forces Week.
Coun Houldsworth told The Gazette: “I’ve really enjoyed looking after the ward to the best of my ability. We have had some tremendous success – the way we have managed to keep anti-social behaviour and crime to a low level and forming the Friends of Marton Burial Ground,”
The 69-year-old, who served in the Territorial Army, was presented with the prestigious Blackpool Medal last month to recognise his service to the resort.
The presentation received cross-party support.
And now Mr Cameron has given his seal of approval. The PM added: “I understand you have recently been awarded the Blackpool Medal for your significant service on behalf of our Armed Forces. This is an outstanding achievement and I am sure you are particularly proud of receiving such an honour.
“I am sorry to hear you have not been well recently, so I would like to send you Samantha’s and my very best wishes, and, especially, to thank you so much for all your dedication, help and hard work over so many years in Blackpool.”