Second stint as mayor for longest serving councillor

New mayor of Ribble Valley 2016/17 Coun Joyce Holgate
New mayor of Ribble Valley 2016/17 Coun Joyce Holgate

A community stalwart affectionately known as the “Countess of Whalley” is the new Mayor of Ribble Valley.

Joyce Holgate MBE is one of Ribble Valley Borough Council’s longest-serving councillors and is taking the chain of office for the second time – the first mayor in the borough’s history to do so.

She has been a Ribble Valley councillor for 21 years, was mayor in 2002 and received an MBE for services to local government in the 2012 Queen’s birthday honours list.

Born and brought up in Sabden, Coun. Holgate farmed in Billington and Wiswell Moor for 17 years, before running the Abbey Candy Store in Whalley for 14 years.

While a Whalley trader, she launched the Whalley Chamber of Trade and is now its honorary president.

She has been heavily involved in Whalley’s popular Pickwick Night and has held voluntary roles at Carers Link, Calderstones NHS Trust and Whalley Primary School.

Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stuart Hirst said: “Joyce is an outstanding and committed councillor, who has served her ward well for many years. She is extremely popular among council staff and the residents she represents, and we are delighted that she is to serve a second term as mayor.”

Coun. Holgate said: “Ribble Valley is dear to my heart and I am delighted to be serving as mayor for a second time.

“As my father survived the Somme, I will proudly be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Somme and raising money for the Royal British Legion as one of my chosen charities during my mayoral year.”

Her mayoress is her daughter, Debra Holgate, and her chosen charities are the Royal British Legion, Ribble Valley Heart Fund and Carers Link (Young Carers).