Death of Lord Ronnie Fearn of Southport OBE
The Mayor reported with great sadness on the loss of former Councillor and Member of Parliament for Southport Lord Ronnie Fearn OBE, who passed away on 24 January 2022; and that on behalf of the Council she had attended Lord Fearn’s funeral at St Simon and St Jude with All Souls Church, Old Park Lane, on Friday 18 February 2022.
The Mayor advised that Lord Fearn had a long and distinguished local and parliamentary political career which included:
· Membership of the Southport County Borough Council, representing Craven Ward, from 1963 to 1974
· Membership of Sefton Council, representing Norward Ward, from 1974 to 2016
· Membership of Merseyside County Council, representing Craven-Sussex-Talbot Ward, from 1974 to 1984
· Member of Parliament for Southport from 1987 to 1992 and from 1997 to 2001
· Member of the House of Lords from 2001 to 2018
and that in the 1985 Birthday Honours, Ronnie Fearn was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
The Mayor concluded that outside of politics, Lord Fearn was involved in numerous local organisations, none more so than the All Souls Dramatic Club where he maintained a lifelong involvement in amateur dramatics.
Councillors Pugh, Brough and Maher paid tribute to Lord Fearn.
The Council then observed a one-minute silence as a mark of respect for Lord Fearn.
Merchant Taylor’s Boys School Council Debate
The Mayor advised that on Friday 11 February she welcomed a group of pupils from Merchant Taylor’s Boys School to take part in a mock Council Debate titled ‘The House would prevent MPs from holding any other paid employment’. The pupils represented their school brilliantly and had some solid for and against arguments on the subject. The Mayor concluded that if any Members would like to take this opportunity to invite some of their local schools in their wards for similar debates that she would be more than happy to accommodate them.
St. Giles Church, Aintree
The Mayor advised that she visited St Giles Church, Aintree on Wednesday 23 February 2022 to present an award to the Church for being the first Church in Sefton to be awarded breastfeeding friendly status.
Birkdale Food Pantry
The Mayor reported that she was invited by Compassion Acts Birkdale to the Birkdale Food Pantry on Tuesday 1 March 2022, to officially open the Pantry at Birkdale Methodist Church.
Mayor of Sefton’s Gala Charity Ball 2022
The Mayor indicated that as Members may have been aware on their arrival at the meeting, tickets were now available from her office for her Charity Ball that would be held on Saturday 26 March at the Bliss Hotel, Southport. The Mayor’s charities this year were the Plaza Cinema, Sefton Children’s Trust and Home Start (Southport & Formby). The Mayor commended the charities as worthwhile causes to their communities and indicated that Members could help the charities by attending her Ball. The Mayor advised that there would be some fantastic entertainment at the Ball, along with a raffle, auction and tombola; and that tickets were £50.00 and could be obtained by emailing her office email@example.com to purchase them. Currently 182 tickets had been sold and ideally the Mayor was hoping to reach a target of 200.
The Mayor reported that at each Council meeting she took the opportunity to remind Members to sign up for the Mayor’s Lottery; that the Lottery cost £2 per month to enter and would be deducted directly from Members’ allowances; and that half of the proceeds from the lottery would go to her Charity Fund.
The Mayor reported that it had now been a week since Russian forces invaded Ukraine, which had resulted in the largest conventional warfare operation in Europe since World War II; and that it had led to lives lost, families broken and displaced, and the heartbreak of a nation, indeed the world.
The Mayor advised that on 22 February 2022 she attended The Western Approaches Museum in Liverpool for the opening of the Arctic Convoys, a Shared History exhibition. The Arctic Convoys were Merchant Navy ships that were escorted by Royal Navy, Canadian Royal Navy and US Navy and Air cover that transported millions of tons of supplies and munitions from the UK to Arkhangelsk and Murmansk in the Soviet Union through the Arctic waters to aid their defence of the Eastern Front from 1941 to 1945 during the second World War. This operation saved many civilian lives from starvation, cold and Nazi attack and was a vital part of the fight against Nazi Germany. The Mayor indicated that she had spoken with 3 of the veterans who were there to open the exhibition; that they had told her of the friendship and unbreakable bond that they had with their Russian comrades; stated that they worked together with the Russia troops to ensure cargo got to the people; and that without this union WW2 may well have had a very different outcome. The Mayor concluded that their stories showed that the Russian people were our friends, that they were good people, they they were not their leader, that we must remember our history during this time, and live in the hope that the unbreakable bond and friendship that veterans spoke to her about could shine a light through this dark time.
The Council then observed a one-minute silence to reflect on the freedoms we had in our own lives and the peace that we lived in; and to offer its thoughts to the people of Ukraine in the hope for a peaceful, safe end to the conflict and for a return to normal life for them, their children and their families.