A VOLUNTARY worker has resigned as chairman of a neighbourhood management board after singing a racist song in front of the shocked Mayor and Mayoress at a Christmas party.
Nick Collingridge, of Sparth Road, Clayton-le-Moors, was hauled in by police, who were also present at the bash organised by the Eavesbrook Housing Association in Clayton, and given an official caution.
He later resigned from the board, which he had served since its creation in March, but declined to make any comment.
Party-goers said Mr Collingridge, a former chairman of Clayton Prospects Panel, tried to crack jokes about the IRA and Welsh people which upset guests.
He then broke into a racist song about Irish and black people and, according to one source, was told to shut up by the Mayoress Mrs Yvonne Wilson.
A police spokesman confirmed: "A local man has been interviewed regarding an incident at the New Inns public house at Rishton and has received a police caution."
Councillor Tim O'Kane, who was present at the party, said: "Eavesbrook has a very strict code of conduct which all members of the neighbourhood board have to adhere to.
"There is a sizeable Irish community in Clayton-le-Moors who would be disgusted and unhappy for decisions to be made by people who didn't have their best interests at heart."
Hyndburn Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "Mr Collingridge was attending a party funded by the Eavesbrook Housing Association. As I was not present, I'm not aware of exactly what happened. However, my understanding is that his behaviour was unacceptable and he has since resigned. As far as I am concerned this is the end of the matter."
A spokesman for a public relations company representing Eavesbrook said: "This is a very regrettable situation. We are aware that the council has now dealt with it and as far as we are concerned the matter is closed."
Labour leader, Councillor David Myles, said: "I have known Nick for the past year or so and he has done some superb work within the community. I wasn't at the event in question. However, nobody, including myself, can condone this type of behaviour."
Mr Collingridge, who is in his 50s, used to run the Londis newsagent's shop in Barnes Street, Clayton.
He has held a voluntary position on the neighbourhood management board alongside Councillors Janet Storey, Tim O'Kane, Miles Parkinson, David Myles and other Clayton residents.
The board was formed to help in the regeneration of Clayton-le-Moors and works closely with Clayton Area Council and the Eavesbrook Housing Association which has 37 houses within Clayton.