Twenty leading figures from Preston’s business, voluntary, charity and community sectors to be made Guild Burgesses
The latest boss of a family-owned supermarket chain, a Fair Trade campaigner and a local historian are just three of the people lined up to be the first intake of honoroury Guild Burgesses.
It’s the first time in the history of the Guild that the people of Preston have been allowed to put forward their suggestions for who should be a Burgess.
A total of 51 people were nominated and the judges whittled it down to 20 who will be celebrated in a special ceremony with the Guild mayor.
Current burgesses include Sir Tom Finney, who was granted the accolade at the 1992 Guild.
A burgess means the person’s name will go onto the Guild Roll and their rights as a burgess are passed down to their sons and daughters.
Guild Mayor, Councillor Carl Crompton, said: “Choosing only 20 from the worthy people on the list was a very tough job. To be nominated as an Honorary Burgess by other Prestonians is high praise indeed.
“The Guild Court and Adjourned Court ceremonies form the heart of the Guild celebrations, and these Honorary Burgesses will become part of that history keeping the spirit of Preston alive through the generations to come.”
The twenty people, profiled below, will receive their honour on Saturday 8 September at the Guild Hall.
The judging panel was made up of the Guild Mayor, Guild stewards and the clerk to the Guild.
Six categories were available to nominate people in, people’s, merchant, creative, international, green and welcome.
The 2012 Burgesses:
Edwin Booth, merchant
As the fifth generation to head the renowned Booth’s grocery chain, Edwin Booth has worked his way through the business and has led it to an enviable position as one of the world’s best food retailers. As a local entrepreneur, he has also championed the slow food movement and is the Chair of the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership. Edwin is a Trustee of the Harris Charity and has acted as the Prince of Wales’ Ambassador for Business in the North West. As a keen cyclist, he has supported construction of the Guild Wheel in addition to other Guild activities.
Melanie Close, people’s
Melanie is well known locally for her work in developing the innovative Disability Information Service which was established to support and empower disabled people. Her hard work has led to the development of Disability Equality North West which now has a regional presence and national recognition. While Melanie is known mainly as an ambassador for disabled people, she has worked tirelessly to challenge discrimination against all marginalised groups and is an example of someone who can illustrate involvement and commitment over and above the ‘usual’ in both her day job and in her voluntary activities.
Alan Crosby, people’s
A nationally known local historian, author and lecturer Dr Crosby has penned many books on local history and specifically on the Preston Guild. The first edition of his definitive and very entertaining ‘A History of the Preston Guild’ was published in 1991 and he has published a new revised edition this year. Alan also compiled the ‘1992 Preston Guild Official Guide’. His latest publication ‘The Select Vestry of Preston; a short history’ provides a fascinating insight into this slightly esoteric and very ancient feature of Preston’s local history. Dr Crosby has tutored, lectured and written extensively about Lancashire and its history on a national stage and his enthusiasm about Preston and its Guild celebrations has promoted the city over many years.
Anne Garsed, international
Since moving to Preston in 1992 just in time to take part in the last Guild, Anne Garsed has played a key role in the local Fair Trade movement. Through national and local political campaigning not only has the movement grown in size but also in influence, culminating with Preston City Council adopting the ethos of Fair Trade and Preston gaining the status of a ‘Fair Trade City’. Anne’s work has not just had a positive effect on the Council; she has promoted the movement with local retailers, schools and colleges and the promotional ‘Fair Trade Fortnight’ is now an integral part of the city’s events calendar.
Milena Grenfell-Baines, international
For over 50 years, Lady Grenfell-Baines has been a notable citizen of Preston. Whether as Chairperson of the Preston Friends of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, trustee of the Harris Charity or hard working member of the city’s Twinning Committee, she has brought dynamism, generosity of spirit and love of culture to her role. Lady Grenfell-Baines has put her legendary cookery skills to work on behalf of Preston and the wider region for decades. In this Guild year she has continued her commitment to fostering and promoting artistic talent, with her involvement in ‘The Young Musician of the Guild’. From first coming to England as a child refugee from Czechoslovakia just prior to the Second World War, she has shown remarkable spirit and energy to all the different aspects of her life. She has been a wonderful ambassador for Preston and with her natural charm and enthusiasm has been an inspiration to many.
Ian Hall, merchant
Ian Hall is the present chairman of James Hall & Co. which has remained a family run business since it began trading almost 150 years ago. With an astute understanding of the commercial environment, Ian has been intrinsic to the growth and development of the company which is committed to providing secure, long-term employment in the local area. Presently employing over 500, mainly local, people at their Preston Distribution Depot, the company also employs an additional 1,500 members of staff across the North of England. While expanding its business, the company has chosen to stay in Preston further benefitting the local economy. James Hall & Co. is a great supporter of local community activity and Guild initiatives such as the Guild Wheel.
Tony Jackson, people’s
Tony Jackson has been the prime mover behind a number of initiatives in his local neighbourhood, the Longsands area of Preston, including the development of the village green, the Multi Use Games Area and a variety of other environmental and social improvements. He is presently chairman of the Longsands Community Association and a trustee of the local community centre. Tony is committed to his community and to ensuring that the voices of those often ignored, particularly young people, are heard. Along with this activity, Tony has found time for voluntary work with the GIFT 92 project as both a trustee and a driver.
Elaine Marshall, people’s
Elaine Marshall is a well known and well respected individual in Preston. Her selfless work within, albeit not exclusively, the minority communities is exemplary. She is know to have a knack of making people feel special and has always given her time to make life better for others. ‘Aunty Elaine’, as she is fondly known, is a founding member of SAHARA which provides support and services for women from the BME communites, was for many years involved in the Caribbean Carnival and as a cook for a very popular luncheon club at the Unity Centre.
Ibrahim Member, people’s
Ibrahim Member is very involved in the social and cultural life of Preston. For many years he ran a well known newsagents in Deepdale but has also been an active advocate for a variety of community issues. Ibrahim’s involvement in activities benefitting BME communities, on health and older people’s issues is exemplary. He founded the Preston Older People’s Forum and is a registered carer at Preston Carers Centre. He also serves as a governor for two local schools, as a member of the Catherine Becket community centre, and as a trustee of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Preston Council for Voluntary Service and Disability Equality North West. Ibrahim displays a tireless commitment, loyalty and dedication to Preston and its communities.
Peter Metcalf, people’s
Peter Metcalf MBE has been a driving force behind many community initiatives in Preston for almost 40 years. He has not only used his professional skills but also his natural energy and motivation, illustrated by his work as a founder member of GIFT 92, a trustee of Preston Relief in Need and Chair of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau to name but a few. Through his involvement as secretary of The Harris Charity, governor at Corpus Christi Catholic Sports College, and as chairman of Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Cricket Competition he has been active in helping local young people.
Christopher Miller, merchant
Christopher Miller is the Managing Director of Chris Miller Preston Ltd, a successor to one of the oldest and most recognisable businesses in Preston; certainly in the last four Guilds – five including 2012 – where the vehicles of his family business have been used in most processions! Chris’s entrepreneurial skills were instrumental in the 1980’s in the rejuvenation of the old docks area and since then in the incorporation of the new and vibrant Preston Marina which is now a key asset of the city. Though a busy businessman, Chris has for many decades given his time freely to work in the background for and support numerous local charitable organisations including the Preston Sea Cadets and Preston and South Ribble Round Table.
Margaret O’Donoghue, people’s
Margaret O’Donoghue has been involved in health care all her professional life. But when, as a Health Visitor, she identified the lack of services for cancer patients she began her work to provide better services. She was involved in the establishment of St Catherine’s Hospice and then, through leadership and dedication, turned the vision of comprehensive support for cancer patients and their families into reality through the creation of the charity Cancer Help and Vine House. These are remarkable achievements and of immeasurable value to anyone in Preston with, or touched by, the effects of cancer.
Michael Parker, people’s
Michael Parker has been proactive in his local community all his adult life. A keen sense of fairness permeates his voluntary work; the need to provide for all sections of the community and the importance of local provision illustrated by his commitment to the inclusivity of the local Parish Plan and his work with the Goosnargh Village Hall to provide activities for young people. Michael is a committed local activist but with an understanding of wider civic responsibility illustrated by his role on the Magistrates bench since 1996 and as a member of the Prison Monitoring Board.
Stephen Sartin, people’s
Stephen Sartin is a well known local historian whose knowledge of Preston is second to none, a reputation which stems from his time giving lectures at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery. He is a prolific author with over fourteen books to his name, published over 30 years. Stephen is also a great raconteur and is one of the few people who can make history ‘come alive’ with his enthusiastic approach to the subject. There is no doubt that Stephen has singlehandedly inspired others to want to know more about their local Preston heritage.
Gulab Singh, people’s
Gulab Singh MBE is a dedicated health professional with over 37 years service to Preston. He was instrumental in achieving European Healthy City status for Preston as well as securing external resources that positively impact on health inequalities. Gulab is well known for his voluntary work within the black and ethnic minority communities, but is involved in projects that support many other communities such as his work with socially excluded groups, the Interfaith Forum and the Mela. Gulab illustrates outstanding leadership; working tirelessly on real issues, promoting equality and cohesion and meaningful community engagement. He is a role model for many people.
Derek Smith, international
Derek Smith has served as the chairman of the Preston Twinning Committee for over 20 years. Whilst Head of the Catering Department at Preston College, he organised student visits to Preston’s twin towns. Retiring from college Derek started his own catering business but still continued to arrange visits and student placements with our European partner cities, all of which has enriched the cultural life of the city. As a result of all this hard work Derek has won the respect and admiration of civic leaders here and on the international stage. In addition, he was Chair of the Heartbeat Charity for a number of years and his service as a local magistrate for over 20 years shows that he has a strong commitment to civic duty and social justice.
Peter Taylor, people’s
Peter Taylor has a long history of volunteering and an unbroken and impressive track record of commitment to supporting people with disabilities. As an employee of Galloway’s Society for the Blind, he has helped the charity to become more high profile, increase and improve its services and put in untold voluntary hours for the benefit of service users. He is a generous and inspiring person always wanting to put something back into the community and this is illustrated by his co-founding the charity Gift 92 which offers practical support to many socially excluded individuals and groups.
Eddie Topping, merchant
Eddie Topping is a well respected and successful local business person who has shown a great deal of entrepreneurial drive in developing both Barton Grange Hotel and the Garden Centre as major businesses in the city. Indeed, both are synonymous with Preston and a significant employer of local people. For his services to charity Edward was awarded an MBE in 2003. He is indeed a great supporter of charitable activity; he was involved as a trustee and has served as Chairman of Cancer Help and is a past President of the Rotary Club of Preston North.
John Turner, people’s
John Turner was one of the founding members of St Catherine’s Hospice and still has a role as Trustee. This charity has supported thousands of people since its inception and John has always been at the forefront of its organisation, offering advice and practical support for its development and providing many voluntary hours. His commitment to this well known local charity is exemplary as is his voluntary work as a couple counsellor for over 40 years with the Catholic Marriage Care in Preston. His selfless commitment to these and other causes was recognised when he was made a Papal Knight of St Gregory.
Peter Ward, green
Peter Ward has served as an elected representative for over 30 years. He was a leading local and national trade union leader. Tackling deprivation, health, financial and other inequalities have always been at the forefront of his public service. Peter has been involved in recent Preston Guilds, including in 1992 the sculpture of the 1842 martyrs. Peter is a former international cyclist and commitment to cycling and healthy living led him to establish the Guild Wheel. His tenacity and selfless dedication to seeing this project through from its inception is a major achievement and a fantastic legacy for Preston.
What do you think of the list? Do you agree with the choices? Who do you think they missed off? Let us know in the comments below