Emotional moment for South Ribble Council’s new Mayor

Posted on - 30th May, 2023 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston News, South Ribble News, Walton-le-Dale
Councillor Chris Lomax

For Chris Lomax, his rise to become South Ribble’s first citizen is one that seemed to amaze him even in the moment that it was happening.

During the ceremony which saw him installed as mayor, the Walton-le-Dale East representative even asked the assembled audience: “How did this happen?”

He then turned the clock back to his school days to explain why the honour was one that he would never have expected to come his way.

Read more: Leyland mums go from park campaign to political futures

Revealing what he described as “tendencies” towards dyslexia and dyspraxia, he added that it was at the age of 17 that he began the lengthy process of teaching himself “to hold a pen and write legibly”.

“[At school], I went straight to class five, set five – ‘GTTs’ [or] general twits and twerps, as it was known by classmates and teachers. Leaving school I had a reading age of about 10, with two CSCs – technical drawing and religious knowledge – so the world was my oyster,” Cllr Lomax said, before proudly adding that he had never been unemployed.

His true talents began to emerge when – during 20 years working in an outdoor pursuit shop in Preston – he started to volunteer as a youth worker.

That move led to him getting a job in a children’s home in Leyland and later with Lancashire County Council, in the authority’s family support team, trying to keep children off the at-risk register and working with those already on it.

Read more: South Ribble Borough Council local elections 2023 results sees Labour take control

Yet he still seemed reluctant to see in himself the leadership qualities that to others were by now obvious – initially turning down requests to become a union rep and also a councillor, before eventually “they wore me down”.

He will be supported in his mayoral year by his wife of 36 years, Kim, who will be his mayoress and with whom he has three children. His nominated charities are St. Catherine’s Hospice, Tender Nursing Care and Tippy Toes.

Cllr Lomax ended a moving speech at South Ribble Borough Council’s Mayor making – in which his voice cracked with emotion on several occasions – by declaring that you “should know where you come from”.

“Mum, Dad and father-in-law Bob…[we’ve] done alright, haven’t we?” he concluded.

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