Burnley hosts new House of Commons Speaker in huge civic gathering

The new Speaker of the House of Commons and mayors from 32 North West boroughs converged on Burnley's Crow Wood Hotel last week for what is thought to be one of the largest gathering of civic dignitaries in the UK.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 2:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 2:40 pm
The civic guests outside the Crow Wood Hotel

The event, hosted by the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain, was attended by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle (an honorary member of the Guild), and his father Lord Hoyle of Warrington.

The Showmen's Guild is the trade association representing the travelling fairground industry.

Each January its Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales sections stages a Civic Luncheon to thank the many local authorities that host fairs during the year. Several also provide winter sites for the showmen to live and store/maintain their rides and attractions when they are not on the road.

Showmen's Guild Lancashire Section Chairman Albert Hill with the Mayor of Burnley, Councillor Anne Kelly, pictured with a Lancashire Showmen's Football Club (the team happens to play in the same claret and blue colours as Burnley FC)

After a gathering last year on the Fylde, the event moved this year to Burnley, taking place at the new hotel.

During the event, Showmen's Guild Lancashire Section Chairman Albert Hill noted that the fun fairs may be the among oldest form of entertainment in the town since Burnley Wakes Fair dates back around 200 years, whereas Burnley Football Club was founded in 1882.

Now staged each summer at Towneley Park, the July event was previously held at Fulledge Recreation Ground and before that in the town centre. There was praise for retired councillor Andy Buck, who as Parks Officer liaised with the Guild for many years on behalf the Burnley Borough Council to ensure the smooth running of the fair.

The luncheon also featured speeches from national Showmen's Guild President Phillip Paris and the Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Anne Kelly.

Former Showmen's Guild Lancashire Section Chairman Billy Hill, a lifelong tenant of Burnley Wakes Fair, with retired councillor Andy Buck

A total of £1,500 for raised for the mayor's charity fund during the event.