Burnley’s new Mayor ‘putting families first’

Mayor making Coun. Charlie Bullas
Mayor making Coun. Charlie Bullas

HELPING Burnley families is the aim of Burnley’s new Mayor, Coun. Charles Bullas, as he takes over the helm as the town’s first citizen.

A proud family man, Coun. Bullas and his wife Irene, his Mayoress, will raise money for Pendleside Hospice along with lesser known charities, including those which help victims of domestic violence, during their term in office.

He was installed as Mayor for 2012/2013 at the town hall this week, on the same day the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles visited Burnley. He took over the helm from Coun. David Heginbotham.

MP Gordon Birtwistle proposed the election of Coun. Bullas as Mayor, who he called a “loyal and trusted friend.”

The motion was seconded by Coun. Andy Tatchell who said: “Charlie has the respect of all councillors in this chamber, irrespective of party, and I am certain that he will make an excellent Mayor, first citizen and ambassador for our town.”

The outgoing Mayor and his wife and Mayoress Mrs Joan Heginbotham were thanked by Coun. John Harbour.

“David and Joan have been a great team. Together they have attended more than 260 engagements and I’m sure they have brought much happiness to the many people they have met during this year. They have carried out their civic duties with warmth, respect and a sense of fun.”

Coun. Harbour’s sentiments were echoed by Coun. Jeff Sumner who seconded the vote of thanks.

“I had no doubt when David was elected Mayor 12 months ago that both he and Joan would take on board their roles very seriously and would be outstanding ambassadors for Burnley and the borough.”

In his retiring speech Coun. Heginbotham praised his wife for her support, thanked the people of Burnley and said the last year had been “an epic journey” for them.

Referring to the Royal visit, he said: “This must rank as the greatest day in the history of Burnley, a day we will never forget.”

Coun. Bullas, a 69-year-old great-grandfather, who worked as a fireman as a young man before spending most of his working life at Lucas, where he finished as site manager of the company’s Rossendale Road factory, has been retired for 17 years.

Since then he has been a central figure in Burnley’s political life.

In his acceptance speech to the assembled guests in the council chamber, he thanked fellow councillors, residents and the outgoing Mayor and Mayoress.

“I am proud to have been born in Burnley and in particular the Burnley Wood area. We were brought up in the heart of Burnley Wood in a two-up, two-down terraced house. I am the middle one of three children, my brothers Alan and William are sadly no longer with us.

“The people who lived in Burnley Wood were salt of the earth people who worked hard and were always ready to help their neighbours.

“How it’s changed over the years, but there are still a lot of good people who live there and good properties.

“I am sure that the work being carried out there now will bring it back to what it was, blending the new with the old.”

Coun. Bullas’s son Jonathon is a chief inspector at Burnley police station. He also has a daughter, Amanda, five grandsons and a great-granddaughter.

A Clarets season ticket holder and keen golfer, Coun. Bullas has been a member of Burnley Golf Club for more than 30 years.

He is a past captain of the club and recently ended his three-and-a-half-year term as president, though he remains a trustee.

The new Mayor and Mayoress, who used to work for social services and as a handicraft instructor, will also mark another milestone this year when they celebrate their golden wedding in October.

They were married at St Mary’s RC Church in Yorkshire Street almost 50 years ago.

“During my life I have been blessed with a wonderful loyal family, my wife Irene, who I love dearly, is my pillar and my strength.”