Time for Burnley's new Mayoress to step into the limelight as a year of fundraising for three deserving charities gets underway

Burnley has been her home since she was just two and Kerry Townsend could not be prouder to represent it as the new Mayoress.

"I have never done anything like this before but the warm welcome I have received from the people of Burnley so far has been wonderful," said Kerry who will be serving as Mayoress next to her husband, the Mayor of Burnley Mark Townsend, who is also the former Leader of Burnley Council. Their only daughter Rosie is also part of the civic party, taking on the role of consort.

Kerry said: "I feel very lucky to have a committee of volunteers who are so enthusiastic and know exactly what they are doing too."

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This year the chosen charities are Safenet, Derian House children's hospice and Barry Kilby Prostate Cancer Appeal and a couple of events have already taken place to kickstart the fundraising.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Burnley Coun.. Mark Townsend and his wife Kerry with their daughter Rosie who is acting as consort (photo by Maureen Nieve )

The Hare and Hounds pub in Harle Syke, where Mark and Kerry are regular customers, is also hosting a number of fund raising events.

And the Mayor himself has also decided that he wants to do his bit for the Mayoress's fund raising committee too.

So he plans to complete the East Lancashire Three Peaks and kayak the Leeds Liverpool canal.

Supported by a team of friends, the challenge will see Mark tackle Leeds Liverpool canal through Burnley on July 22nd at 10am followed by the East Lancashire Three Peaks on one day - September 19th.

Kerry said: "Mark decided it wasn't fair to leave it all to the Mayoress and her committee."

The Mayor's Mile fun run will also be taking place on Sunday, August 8th, at Towneley Park in Burnley. The event takes place between 2pm and 4pm and is open to youngsters of all ages. Each child who completes the challenge will be presented with a medal and there will be refreshments and face painting on what promises to be a great family day.

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Married for 32 years, Kerry has been a constant support for Mark while he pursued his political career, both as an advisor and part of the team delivering leaflets during elections.

Born in Belfast, Kerry moved to England with her family as a toddler and went to St Stephen's Primary School an the former Walshaw High School for Girls. She has worked mainly in finance all her career, starting at the former Burnley Building Society in 1974.

Kerry, who retired four years ago, has also worked for Pendle Council, Vedas Recruitment and also HML in a variety of roles.

Thrilled to be representing Burnley Kerry is just sad that her parents never got the chance to see her as Mayoress.

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She said: "I know they would have both been so proud."