Cobbers meet for a beaut of an evening, as the Australians say

Councillor Woollard and Consort Alistair Woollard (fourth and third left) with mayoral parties from Rossendale, Chorley and Ribble Valley

Councillor Woollard and Consort Alistair Woollard (fourth and third left) with mayoral parties from Rossendale, Chorley and Ribble Valley

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Some shrimps were thrown on the barbie as a community group braved the outdoors for an Australian-themed barbecue.

Members of Friends of Hurst Grange Park organised the event, with the South Ribble Mayor, Coun Linda Woollard and her consort, Alistair Woollard, as key guests.

Sue Browning, Janet McQueen, Rick Browning and Ian Kirk

Sue Browning, Janet McQueen, Rick Browning and Ian Kirk

The evening was a great success, with more than £400 raised for the group’s project to restore the Penwortham park’s coach house.

Peter Wilkinson, chairman of Friends of Hurst Grange Park, said: “As Coun Woollard and Alistair are member of our group, they were looking for something different to do to raise funds for us.

“A lot of Mayor’s balls are formal, like black-tie dinners, but we wanted a more relaxed affair.

“Somebody mentioned an Australian-themed barbecue.

The Woodplumpton Ukelele Players entertain

The Woodplumpton Ukelele Players entertain

“And as my son, Rick, lives there, I have a lot of memorabilia and related items, such as corked hats and boomerangs and so the idea was born.

“Around 70 people turned up, including six or eight Mayors from other areas of Lancashire.

“It was a lovely evening and a good time was had by all.

“We want to thank everyone for turning up and giving their time to help.”

Councillor David and Adele Bird

Councillor David and Adele Bird

The funds raised will go towards the group’s renovation project to turn the old coach into a community facility, incorporating a drop-in centre, and coffee shop.

It will also provide an environmental study space and study area.

Peter added: “We plan to create a drop-in centre which gives information for visitors, plus a coffee shop and toilet facilities.

“We will have rooms to rent for community groups, such as scouts, yoga or toddler groups and it would also be great for special occasions, such as a 21st or 18th birthday party.”

The coach house was built around 1850 and was originally owned by William Adam Hulton.

In the 1900s, he donated it to the council for public ownership.

It is now used as a base for Friends of Hurst Grange Park, but is in desperate need of renovation.

Peter added: “Overall we need £450,000. We have applied for Heritage Lottery funding and have raised £15,000 so far. South Ribble Council will also match fund £100,000. This is going to be a great project.”

Friends of Hurst Grange Park meet on the second Saturday in the month, carrying out a range of projects to improve facilities, including the planting of thousands of bulbs and other plants, creating a Tree Trail and litter picking.