Changing of the guard

AS HIS third stint at the helm of Saddleworth Parish Council ends, chairman Councillor Brian Lord is handing over the chains of office to Councillor Graham Sheldon on May 20.

Cllr Lord looks back on the last twelve months while Cllr Sheldon gives his vision for the year ahead.

ALL CHANGE:  Cllr Sheldon takes over from Cllr Lord
ALL CHANGE: Cllr Sheldon takes over from Cllr Lord

After being appointed at short notice after the death of then vice-chair Cllr Ken Hulme, Cllr Lord has been supported in office by wife Pat, a fellow parish councillor and twice chairman herself.

He said: “Although this is the third time I have undertaken the role it is nonetheless just as exiting a prospect as it was the first time in 1994/5. It is a huge honour to be chairman.

“When added to the two occasions that my wife Pat has been Chairman we have ‘done the rounds’ five times, more than anyone else in the council’s history.

“For the fundraising part of our role Pat has been an inspiration to members of our excellent committee who year-in and year-out battle for every penny.

“It is to her eternal credit we will have raised more than £15,000 – our largest ever amount – for Oldham Hospital League of Friends, Oldham Diabetic Helpers and Oldham Macmillan Charities, and for many smaller local clubs and societies.

“Now it is almost over will I be glad? Well in some ways yes but in others no.

“It has been a long hard busy year which has provided us with many happy memories but it will be nice to be able to go to bed without studying the calendar to see where you must go the following day and I have been made to promise not to take on the role again.

“So it is more time for us and more time to press on with the never ending repairs to my Jowett and Austin cars – not to mention my classic racing kart.”

TERRIFIC: Chairman's Lady Cllr Pat Lord and her committee have raised more than £15,000
TERRIFIC: Chairman’s Lady Cllr Pat Lord and her committee have raised more than £15,000

Incoming chairman Graham Sheldon, who will be supported by wife Diane, also has his sights set on a successful fundraising year alongside raising the community’s profile.

Cllr Sheldon, postmaster at Uppermill Post Office, said: “Diane and I are looking forward to forthcoming year as Chairman and Chairman’s lady of Saddleworth Parish Council.

“Our aim is to promote Saddleworth at the many functions we will be attending throughout the twelve months.

“Saddleworth is a unique area with vast areas of open countryside and we see so many visitors coming into Saddleworth in particular at weekends as it has so much to offer.

“I would like to further promote Saddleworth to encourage more visitors and inform them of the facilities that are here.

“This would include lists of parks and open spaces, local walks and trails, and information to promote the variety of businesses in the area.

“In village life I always encourage local residents to take part and support as many local activities as they are able to.”

And to boost community involvement, the Sheldons have already planned a number of events at the Civic Hall in Uppermill, which is available for use for functions and meetings.

Events include: Norweigan wind ensemble Vestaway plus Diggle Brass Band, compered by Gilbert Symes, on June 22, a comedy night on September 13, and a wedding fayre on October 6.

They are also putting together a calendar featuring locals’ favourite pictures of Saddleworth villages throughout different seasons to raise funds for St Mary’s Hospital’s Placenta Clinic, Dr Kershaw’s and other local charities.

To send in a picture to be considered for the Saddleworth calendar, please email the image in jpeg format to ccsaddleworthpc@gmail.com by June 21. Businesses can sponsor a month in the calendar by emailing or ringing Graham or Diane on 01457 872100.

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