Rare Freedom of the Borough and Aldermen honours bestowed on pair

A “visionary designer” and a former long-serving councillor who has given “exemplary service” to the borough are to be honoured by Burnley Council.

A special meeting of the full council is set to confer the Freedom of the Borough on local businessman Mark Crabtree and make Andy Tatchell an Alderman when it meets on 20th October.

Mr Crabtree, founder and managing director of Burnley-based AMS Neve, took his business from his kitchen to become a world-leading company, helping to provide the soundtracks for leading musicians and Hollywood blockbusters which led to the company being awarded two Oscars.

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Coun. Anne Kelly, who put him forward for the honour, said: “Mark is a visionary designer, having pioneered many ‘world firsts’, techniques and technologies which are still in use today in music, film and TV sound.

Mark Crabtree OBE

“As well as his significant influence on the professional audio industry, Mark was also chairman of the Burnley Bondholders, and is heavily involved in supporting the local community, and encouraging business and enterprise in Burnley.

“In recent years he has devoted much of his time and resource to developing and promoting Burnley as a thriving centre for advanced manufacturing and engineering.

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“Mark continues to support the development and raising the aspirations of young people in the town, attending careers events at schools and colleges, supporting headteachers and staff by helping them forge links with local businesses, and inviting colleges and universities to visit the AMS Neve Art of Sound exhibition, welcoming more than 3,000 students through its doors since 2014.”

Mr Crabtree, who was awarded an OBE in 2014 for services to advanced manufacturing and create industries, recently invested a seven-figure sum in the redevelopment of the former Burnley Grammar School to create The Landmark, a digital tech hub for digital start-ups, SMEs and micro-businesses.

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Former Mayor of Burnley Andy Tatchell with wife Lorna

Mr Tatchell first became a councillor in 1999, initially representing Hapton with Park ward before being elected in Gawthorpe in 2003 where he remained as councillor until his retirement in May 2021.

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In his time on the council he served on the executive, and as deputy leader and Chair of the scrutiny committee. He was Mayor of Burnley in 2014/15 and Mayor of Padiham Town Council in 2005 and 2018.

Coun. Cosima Towneley, who nominated Mr Tatchell for the honour, said: “I firmly believe there is a time and place when recognition of exemplary service given to the borough should be recognised. I wish to nominate Andy for the honorary title of Alderman for his tenacity, longevity and dedication to Burnley.

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“He served the town and the whole borough with distinction and dedication on a daily basis on matters that affected everyone’s everyday lives.”