The nominations are in and we can now reveal our shortlist of outstanding Hyndburn citizens for the new Freedom of the Borough award.
The results of our judging panel’s deliberations will be unveiled at a special council meeting on December 8.
At least one person nominated by our readers will be bestowed the Freedom of Hyndburn, and join an exclusive group of freemen comprising Edward Hill, Alice Horne, Dorothy McGregor and Eunice Whittaker.
Two further names may come into contention, but have not yet confirmed they wish to be considered for the award.
Observer editor Gareth Tidman said: "We have received some outstanding nominations. We have also been thrilled with the response of the Hyndburn public to the competition and would like to thank everyone who took the trouble to nominate.
"All of the people nominated have made an outstanding contribution to the borough over an extended period of time."
- Irene Barnes, of Durham Drive, Oswaldtwistle, has been nominated for her commitment and dedication to the vulnerable and infirm residents of the borough over 34 years, while working as chairman and vice chairman of Hyndburn Arthritis Group.
- Jack Barrett, of West Crescent, is a lifelong Accrington Stanley fan and is credited with helping rescue the club after it exited the football league in 1962. Jack was Stanley committee secretary for 10 years and was made life member of the club in 1978.
- Nigel Berry has worked as a borough gardener for 40 years. He started as an apprentice at 16 while working for the old Accrington council and has continued working for Hyndburn.
- Winifred (Winnie) Bridges, of Lyndon House, Great Harwood, has been nominated for her inspiration in gaining an education late in life. Aged 50, she gained an English degree at Salford University and went on to pen books and poems, teach and become a public speaker.
- Leonard Dickinson, of Dill Hall Lane, Church was a councillor representing Church for 35 years on the Church Urban District Council and then on Hyndburn Borough Council. He was mayor of Hyndburn from 1986-87 and served at county hall for four years. He has also been a governor of many schools in the area - racking up 46 years’ service.
- Ada Gibson, of Grange Street, Clayton-le-Moors, has been nominated for her enormous contribution to charity. She took up swimming aged 80 and continued doing swimming marathons until she was nearly 90. She is an outstanding example to young people with her lifestyle.
- Alderman Jack Grime, of Buckingham Grove, Church, has a long and distinguished record of service to the people of Hyndburn – as JP, lay preacher, councillor, mayor and school governor. He was made an MBE for his services to the borough.
- Geoffrey Hanson, of Allsprings Drive, Great Harwood has been instrumental in the Great Harwood show for over 50 years, and chairman for more than 30 years. He served in the RAF after the Second World War and is also a former chairman of Hyndburn Conservative Association.
- Ken Hargreaves MBE, of Hippings Vale, Oswaldtwistle, was Hyndburn MP from 1983 to 1992, and served as local councillor and mayor. He is president of several charities, including Accrington and District Blind Society, Hyndburn Arthritis Care, and DASH. He is also chair of Maundy Relief.
- Jim Harkness, of Back Lane, Baxenden, joined North Lancs Training Group in 1969, which was attached to the Furniture and Timber Training Board, as the sole member of staff. Since 1993, 25,000 apprentices and train to gain learners have benefited by NLTG programmes. Jim is also vice chairman on the board of governors at Hollins Technology College.
- Dr Ron Hill MBE, won gold medals in the European Championships and Commonwealth Games as a long distance runner. He set world records at four other distances, has run two Olympic marathons and won the 74th Boston marathon in a course record. Born in Accrington, has close links with Clayton Harriers and is an ambassador for the area.
- Valerie Hunt, of Richmond Road, Accrington, has been a guider and brown owl since 1982 of 2nd Accrington St Peter’s. She has been an enrolling member of the Mother’s Union at St Peter’s for seven years and is also a school governor.
- Brian Jackson, of Aspen Lane, Oswaldtwistle, has worked tirelessly for the disadvantaged and has been an inspiration in his role as church leader, with Oswaldtwistle’s Hope Metro Church. He has led a resettlement project called Project Restore, helping prison inmates to integrate back into society.
- Susan Johnson, of Turkey Street, Accrington, is a former Mayoress and great ambassador for Hyndburn. She supports many good causes, mainly MacMillan Cancer and other charities including the Accrington Blind Society. She serves as a magistrate and works with the local school. She organises numerous charity events at the Peel Park Hotel.
- Roy Lockwood, of Foxhill Bank Brow, Oswaldtwistle, is a former Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer who has been a dedicated servant for the Royal British Legion in Accrington, Church and Oswaldtwistle. He has conducted years of research on local soldiers who fell in the First and Second World Wars and Korean War, for the Oswaldtwistle war memorial.
- Joan Pilkington, of Princess Street, Accrington, has worked tirelessly for west Accrington for 10 years, chairing the residents’ association at a time when it was threatened with being disbanded. The association fought hard to secure government housing renewal money through Elevate to transform the area’s housing stock, as well as meeting the everyday needs of its residents.
There is also a group nomination for the Stepping Out Volunteers, for their vital volunteering work running walks in conjunction with East Lancs NHS. People benefit from physical, mental and social improvements when attending the walks.