Burnley’s new Mayor, Coun. Andy Tatchell, was introduced with ringing endorsements from across the political spectrum.
Described by his Labour colleague Coun. John Harbour as “somebody special” the new Mayor was a popular choice in the chamber.
Coun. Tatchell, who will wear the mayoral robes in the coming year, has promised to support the needy of the town through the Emmaus homeless charity, as well as other good causes, Pendleside Hospice and Christie Hospital.
The modest Mayor said: “My father was an orphan whose mother died in a Dorset workhouse and who only knew his mother had died when no-one turned up at the orphanage to take him for his once-a-week visit.
“To think that, in this day and age, we have food banks and homeless people here in the borough deserves our attention.
“Having looked into the help Emmaus give to the homeless I believe it deserves all the support we can give.”
Educated at Burnley Grammar School, the new Mayor worked for the Post Office for 42 years before retiring and is still an active union member. He was also Mayor of Padiham in 2005.
He said: “I have always believed in listening to both sides and treating people in a way I would find acceptable were the boot on the other foot. I am a little old-fashioned and believe courtesy and good manners cost nothing.
“Shouting loudest doesn’t mean you are right in my world.”
Accompanied by his wife Lorna, son Scott, stepdaughter Claire and her husband, Daniel Frazer, Coun. Tatchell praised his “wonderful family.”
He added: “We are very close and I am grateful to, and proud of, them all.”
Explaining his support for the Christie he said: “Lorna has had years of excellent treatment at the Christie.
“My father was also treated there. I owe them a debt I can never repay and, if we can raise some money so other Burnley families can benefit, I am all for that.”
In a warm and witty speech, Coun. Harbour, who has also suffered from cancer, recalled how his good friend was always available to take him for treatment.
He said: “At various stages of our lives, if we are lucky, somebody special comes along and adds that little bit of magic. This afternoon gives me the chance to publicly acknowledge a friendship that means so much to me. A friendship that began at a Labour Party meeting in Padiham and which has developed over the years into a bond that will never be broken. Andy is a friend whose company we have always enjoyed. He has a story for every occasion and can be charming, dry and witty.
“He is a man whose opinion is valued and his advice is often sought after.”
Coun. Harbour also highlighted the new Mayor’s sporting abilities in his younger days, jokingly adding his secret was “cigarettes and statins.”
Coming from a family with Army traditions, Coun. Tatchell added he was looking forward to marking the First World War centenary.
Lib Dem Coun. Roger Frost and Conservative Coun. Ida Carmichael also gave their approval.
The departing Mayor, Coun. Frank Cant, revealed his year in office had raised £16,280 for his chosen charity, the North West Air Ambulance.