Mayors Viewpoint: Councillor Kath Pratt

It has been an honour during my short time as The Mayor of Hyndburn to represent our borough at socially distanced events to recognise our fantastic community, past and present.

It is with both pride and sadness I attended the funeral of Dr Ron Hill MBE on Friday 11 June. I was invited by Ron’s family to represent the people of Hyndburn on this sad day, alongside others who represented significant parts of his life and passions. Ron was awarded Freedom of the Borough in 2012, the highest honour from our community, he was an inspiration to many and a wonderful ambassador for Hyndburn who will be greatly missed. I offered thoughts and condolences to his family on behalf of Hyndburn.

To mark the start of Armed Forces Week on the 21st June I took part in the flag raising ceremony outside Accrington Town Hall. This was to show support and appreciation for the Armed Forces and their families. I was also honoured to attend a ceremony at the Accrington Pals Memorial, to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme on the 1st July.

The Accrington Pals are interweaved into the fabric of Hyndburn’s history. They formed a battalion to fight in the first world war with most men from our community signing up. On that fateful day, 1 July 1916, during the first day of the Battle of the Somme severe losses and over 600 casualties were suffered.

During the ceremony, to honour those who were lost, a wreath was laid and I was invited to read the poem ‘A Soldiers Cemetery’ by John Williams Streets. Joined by representatives from the Royal British Legion and leaders of Hyndburn we heard the last post played and observed a silence, to remember all those who had fallen. The losses suffered during the battle shook our community, with so many losing a loved one. We will remember them.

We may not be at war, but we are battling a pandemic and our community has shown great strength. Part of this strength has been through our fantastic healthcare workers.

On Monday 5th July we all came together to thank our NHS services and celebrate its 73rd birthday. It was also wonderful to hear the news of the George Cross being awarded to the NHS by Her Majesty The Queen, which recognises extraordinary acts of bravery in saving lives. The Mercer Memorial Clock Tower was lit blue to commemorate the day and we gave thanks to everyone who is playing their part to help us on the road to recovery.

Please stay safe, keep following the guidelines and let’s remember that we are stronger when we work together.