Cosima Towneley is made new Mayor of Burnley

Burnley has a new Mayor, and the first from a family long associated with the proud history of the town.

By Dominic Collis
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2022, 3:47 pm

Coun. Cosima Towneley is Burnley’s newest ‘first citizen’ and the first of her famous family to take the civic chains.

Keen countryside campaigner, Coun. Towneley was born in Cliviger and was educated at St Joseph’s, Park Hill before going away to school in Dorset and Shropshire.

With a degree in history/history of art, and a post grad in land economy, she volunteered and worked in South Africa, South-East Asia, London and Scotland in the arts.

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Councillor Cosima Towneley (centre) with Mayoresses Melissa Wood (left) and Pailin Petchrlum

She was also an assistant factor/land agent in Scotland, Lancashire and North Yorkshire before returning home, where she set up a business producing hand-made seasonal pickles, preserves, cordials and confectionary.

She was elected to represent Cliviger with Worsthorne ward on Burnley Council in 2007, and to Lancashire County Council in 2017, having formerly served on Burnley Council as executive member for the environment and community.

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Countryside campaigner Cosima Towneley

Her appointment was confirmed at a special meeting of Burnley Council. She picked local charities Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue, Dyneley Riding for the Disabled and Pendleside Hospice as her chosen charities for the coming year.

Pailin Petchrlum and Melissa Wood will act as mayoresses, and her nephew Henry Towneley as consort.

Coun. Towneley said: "It is a great privilege to serve as Mayor of Burnley. It will be a momentous year as so much is happening within our vibrant communities. I will strive to promote and support all our residents in their endeavours and look forward to meeting many of our individuals and groups that make our borough such a splendid place to live, work and play."

The Towneley family is one of Burnley’s most historic families. Burnley’s ‘jewel in the crown’, Towneley Hall, was the family seat until its sale, together with the surrounding park, to the then Burnley Corporation in 1901.

A prominent Roman Catholic family, notable Towneleys have included John Towneley, who lived from circa 1528 to 1607, and gave shelter to Catholic priests during the reign of Elizabeth I.

Cosima is the daughter of the late Lady Mary Towneley, who was instrumental in the development of the Pennine Bridleway.

Coun. Towneley is currently cabinet member for Children and Family Services on the county council, and is a Cliviger parish councillor.