Former councillor becomes honorary alderman for 'remarkable' 28 years of service
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The title is the highest recognition of excellent service that can be given to former councillors.
May Blake was officially presented with honorary alderman status at a special meeting of West Lancashire Borough Council, where she picked up the honorary alderman scroll and a council shield.
She was a councillor in the Parbold ward from 1995 to 2023, representing the Conservatives.
She was a parish councillor for a similar length of time, was elected chairman of the council for 2006-2007, served on various committees related to housing and landlord services and chaired the corporate and environmental overview and scrutiny committee.
Mrs Blake said: "I have enjoyed every minute as a borough councillor, covering Hilldale, Dalton and Bispham. I have always taken a keen interest in housing and I am proud that I have been able to contribute in this area. I was also privileged to be elected as chairman of West Lancashire Borough Council in 2006 and 2007.
"My work as the first appointed older people’s champion was a very rewarding position which gave me a personal insight into older people's hopes and concerns, and the good work achieved by volunteers. I still continue to be closely involved with the community I served, and I attend many social events and community groups.
"I would like to thank the council’s chief operating officer and all officers, both past and present, who kindly gave me help and advice over the years. I would also like to extend the warmest regards to my fellow councillors, with whom I enjoyed the cut and thrust of local politics as well as working towards common goals for the benefit of residents.
"Lastly, I would like to thank my family, whose unselfish support has allowed me to give so much of my time to my community."
Council leader Yvonne Gagen said: "I send my congratulations to May, whose love of her community is clear and very much reciprocated. She is respected and held in high esteem by all sides of the chamber for her long service and hard work. Twenty-eight years in service of our residents is remarkable and I'm sure she will continue to be an active figure in her community."
Conservative group leader Coun David Westley said: "I have known May since I was elected in 2002 and it was in 2009, when I was standing for the county council in the West Lancs east division, that I came to understand just how embedded she was in her local community and the extremely high level of respect she engendered in her electorate. She was a member of several local organisations and seemed to know everyone; she formed close relationships with the Parbold Parish Council, Women's Institute, the choir, the church, and U3A.
"May was a thoroughly reliable councillor; she was always hard-working, tireless and cared for others. I would like to personally thank May for her loyalty and support.
"Being elected an alderman is the highest honour that this council can bestow on a former councillor and the criteria is that they gave eminent service. May Blake certainly did give eminent and distinguished service during her 28 years as a councillor."