The Mayor's Office

The Mayor and Mayoress

The Mayor for this year is Councillor James Starkie. His wife, Janet, is Mayoress.Mayor and Mayoress, James and Janet Starkie.

This is a transcript of the Mayor's inaugural speech:

Civic guests, fellow Councillors, officers of the Council. Family and friends:

Welcome to you all and thank you for joining me this evening on this very special occasion.

May I start by expressing my thanks to the many people who make the whole Mayoral experience the well oiled machine it is:

  • To my dear wife, Janet, for all her support and for agreeing to be my Mayoress
  • A big thank you to the retiring Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor David and Barbara Whalley. You have had a very successful year
  • Thank you to the three Councillors who (I presume) moved, seconded and supported my nomination as Mayor, although I did not hear their words as I was in The Mayor’s Parlour. I am sure they were kind and supportive
  • Thank you to my colleagues in The Conservative Group for their support
  • We are privileged to have been working with the Mayoral team - Fiona and Trish - for the last year - they have provided valuable help and support. We look forward to their continuing kindness and consideration through the year.  We thank you both.
  • Thanks to two retired Councillors, Beckett and Benson, both former Mayors for encouraging me to become Mayor
  • Finally, we send our very best wishes to the new Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress, Councillor Ken Hartley and Jayne Mills

Janet and I are both locals - Nelson born, bred and educated, so taking on the roles of the First Citizens of Pendle fills us with great excitement and pride.  We are looking forward to highlighting the organisations and businesses who are doing a fantastic job for the benefit of the community, in both the towns and the villages, across the whole Borough.

The Mayoresses’ career and life’s work has been in education and she retains a keen interest in promoting children and young people’s resilience, mental and physical health and well-being.

It is for these reasons that she looks forward to raising monies throughout the year for disadvantaged children and the younger people of Pendle within the following organisations:

  • Derian House Children’s Hospice
  • Mind
  • The Prince’s Trust
  • Home Start
  • Young Carers at the CVS
  • Safespace

and, individuals, where appropriate.

Working with Pendle Youth Forum she is organising a Health and Well-being event called ‘Together’ - at the Muni in July.  This will bring together the expertise of our local youth support agencies and our year 10 students.

Those supporting us are In-Situ, Positive Action in the Community, LCC Children and Family Wellbeing Service, Police Youth Involvement, Lancashire Mind, Young Addaction and the Community Sexual Health Team.

It is hoped that the workshops will develop the skills and greater emotional resilience to enable the students to support themselves and others more effectively as they grow into adulthood.

All our Pendle High schools have committed to attend with their year 10 students. Thanks to Cllr. Margaret Foxley who has shown a special interest and involvement with this.

Other initiative is the ‘Buy a Bag’ scheme which will run throughout the year; These bags will contain personal hygiene items for young people (and maybe their own children) who find themselves homeless and may be housed at the Pendle Refuge, a safe house or Safespace.

There’s also exciting, fund raising events planned for all age groups - intending to raise the profile of our beautiful Pendle countryside whilst at the same time supporting her charities.

Here are some of them:

  • Gin Tasting at Booths on the 25 May
  • Mayor at Home Garden Party at Roughlee Village Centre in July
  • A Treasure Hunt in Blacko in September
  • An Evening with Bernard Wrigley at Nelson Cricket Club in October
  • Mayoress's Ball in Roughlee in November
  • Irish Night at Walter Street Club on 9 February,

plus other events around the borough

All these events will be advertised on our new Mayoress of Pendle website and Facebook pages, hosted by ourselves.

We also look forward to our engagements, including those with young people.  In June we will be watching the Pendle Youth Choir perform with the visiting Creil children’s choir, together with the Nelson Arion Male Voice Choir.  The following week we will be at Pendle Schools’ Festival Massed Music Night at Colne Muni.  And, there are many, many other events in the diary already.

There are outstanding developments which we look forward to in our Mayoral year.  Pendle has an ability to ‘punch considerably above its weight’ when it comes to regeneration.  The centre of which is the £32 million pound redevelopment of Northlight.  

Already resident is a base for Lancashire Adult Learning. Work has started on the Leisure Box - a multi-million pound facility which will be run by BFC in the Community.  In the main mill, planning permission has been given for 36 apartments and other exciting plans are in the making.

There is an £8 million funding package in place to extend the Lomeshaye Industrial Estate.  

Work on the former Tesco Store in Nelson is underway.  Home Bargains have bought the site and have started refurbishment of this prime town centre location.   

The Fence Gate Lodge is a new business, giving Pendle exactly what it needed -  a high quality 25 bedroom hotel - a beautiful venue that has generated new jobs.  

Nearby the old Camp School has been re-opened and given a new lease of life, also by BFC in the Community.

This year, we celebrate the success of the businesses in Pendle at the prestigious Pendle Business Awards, which will be taking place for the sixth time.  Put on by Pendle Vision Board and Pendle Borough Council, the awards showcase the fantastic depth of talent, successes and local contributions made by local businesses. This event is on Thursday July 5 at the original Fence Gate Inn.

Pendle Business Week will take place in October.  It’s a week-long calendar of free workshops and seminars to help Pendle businesses.  

The Gearing Up For Growth programme is now in its 6th year and continues to support business growth in Pendle.

Our Tourism and Events Programme will continue to provide residents and visitors alike with a range of activities that promote the best of Pendle – including the 15th annual Pendle Walking Festival.  This offers guided walks through our magnificent countryside.  It is taking place from August 11 - 19 and its main theme this year is Pendle Hill and the Council’s collaboration with the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership - a partnership on which I have been a board member for over 2 years. 

One of the walks is in conjunction with the Mayoress Charity Appeal - a family walk to the Sculpture Trail with craft making, on the 17th.

We are excited that the launch of Pendle Walking Festival will be from Barley Cabin and the event includes lots of old favourites, as well as new walks, like the one that commemorates the 'father' of the Greenwich Observatory, Jonas Moore, another old Highamer, like me.

There’s also a number of important festivals to look forward to: 

  • Colne Grand Prix in July
  • The Blues Festival in Colne at the bank holiday weekend
  • Nelson Food Festival in September
  • Barnoldswick has its great event, Bands on the Square, and its innovative and popular Barlick Beach.

We will support these, plus a great many more, in every village and town across Pendle -  it’s going to be a very varied and interesting year in office.  

Thank you.