THE borough’s first mayor and a long-serving civic trust chairman have both been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours.
Former council leader Geoff Roberts has been made an MBE, while David Dunn, West Lancashire Civic Trust chair, has been awarded a British Empire Medal.
Mr Roberts, who served for six years as leader of West Lancs council and was made an alderman of the borough last year, told of how he was delighted after learning he was being recognised for services to the community in Aughton and West Lancs.
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He said: “I was quite taken aback. I never expected anything like this. The honour for me was to be made an alderman by the council – this has really come out of the blue, it’s fantastic.”
The former Aughton Park Conservative councillor served on West Lancs borough council from 1984 until he retired last year.
In 2002, he became leader of the council after the Conservative group won back control from Labour. He stepped down as leader in 2008 and the following year became the borough’s first mayor. He still serves on Aughton parish council. Mr Roberts reflected on changes he had been able to bring in while council leader, such as making West Lancs the first non-smoking council in the country.
He said he was proud of leading on the partnership which saw Serco take over leisure facilities in the borough, the revamp of Aughton Street and his involvement as one of the prime movers in proposals to redevelop Skelmersdale town centre, which moved closer to reality when £20m plans were approved recently.
Meanwhile, David Dunn, from Bickerstaffe, was recognised for more than 40 years of service to conservation in West Lancashire. As well as his work with the civic trust, he is chair of West Lancs Conservation Areas Advisory Panel, and recently retired as chair of Lathom Park Trust.
Mr Dunn was involved with the formation of the borough’s civic trust during the reformation of local government in 1974, as well as saving the West Wing of Lathom House in the 1990s.
He said: “It’s very nice because it not only recognises what I have been doing, but all the people I have worked with over the years in conservation – the whole set-up.”