Tributes for former long serving Ribble Valley councillor and mayor who was affectionately known as the 'Countess'

Tributes have been paid to one of the Ribble Valley's longest serving, and most popular and respected former councillors, who has died at the age of 91.

By Sue Plunkett
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 9:25 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 9:25 am

Joyce Holgate, who gave a lifetime of service to the community, made history when she became the only councillor to become mayor twice.

In 2012 Joyce, who represented Whalley, received an MBE for 25 years of service to local government.

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Joyce Hiolgate, a former long serving Ribble Valley councillor who was Mayor twice, has died at the age of 91

Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stephen Atkinson said: “Joyce was an outstanding councillor, who served her community well for decades, and was affectionately known as the ‘Countess of Whalley.’

"The fact she was the only person to be appointed mayor twice is a remarkable achievement and a testament to her commitment and dedication

““She was extremely popular among Whalley residents and council staff alike and will be sadly missed.”

Joyce was responsible for starting the Whalley Chamber of Trade and she was a former chairman of Whalley Parish Council and a member of the Pickwick Night committee which she also played a role in launching.

Paying tribute to Joyce, Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans said: "Joyce was a hugely respected and long serving councillor and former mayor and she was very much embedded in the local community.

"She owned a fantastic sweet shop in Whalley, which generations of children will have shopped in.

"She knew everybody in the village and everybody knew her. We were all delighted when her public service was recognised by Her Majesty the Queen, and I was thrilled when she came to London to receive her honour.

"She was known as the countess' and people regularly teased her by calling that, which always made her giggle.

"She was a personal friend and I will miss her greatly. My thoughts are with her family at this time and I send them my deepest condolences.”

A lifelong Conservative Joyce stepped down from politics in 2019 due to ill health.

At the time she thanked the people of Whalley and the Ribble Valley for their support, saying: "I feel privileged to have represented Whalley and the Ribble Valley. I always tried my best and have loved every minute of it. “Everyone has treated me with so much respect.”