Former Mayor is to stand down due to health concern

dedicated: Jim Owen served as a South Ribble councillor for two decades
dedicated: Jim Owen served as a South Ribble councillor for two decades
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A former mayor of South Ribble has stood down from the council after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Coun Jim Owen, who represented the Bamber Bridge East ward, bravely chose to run for re-election in May, despite suffering health problems from late last year.

However, the Labour man and his family took the decision he should step down from South Ribble Council last week because of his health problems.

Dedicated Jim had served on the council for 20 years, representing the Bamber Bridge area since May 1991.

He spent a year as mayor in 1998/99, taking up office in memorable fashion by starting his first speech in Welsh, after being teased about his Welsh roots by fellow councillors.

As he handed over the reins to Coun Margaret Smith in May 1999, he described his time as mayor as a “magical year.”

Coun Tom Hanson of the Bamber Bridge West ward described his colleague and friend as a dedicated councillor.

The Labour councillor said: “I have known Jim quite a long time and it was a shock when his family said he was ill.

“He got elected in 1991 and has been there ever since.

“He was a very diligent councillor who did a lot of hard work.

“He is very well-liked in Bamber Bridge.”

Jim has lived in Lancashire since 1959 and was a shop steward for 21 years at English Electric.

During his time with the council, he also served as deputy mayor, as vice-chairman of the licensing committees between 2001 and 2007 and as chairman of his local area committee from 2002 to 2008.

He also represented the council on a number of outside bodies and was a school governor. Jim is married to Joan and they have two daughters, Tracey and Susan.

Jim’s departure means a by-election is likely to be held to fill the vacant seat in Bamber Bridge East.

Nominations for candidates will close at noon on Friday.

If the ward is contested, the poll is sceduled to take place on Thursday October 13.