Penwortham Mayor Geoff shakes it up with new challenge
Penwortham Mayor Geoff Crewe has set himself a gripping task - all with the ‘wrong’ hand.
The 68-year-old grandfather-of-two, wants to shake hands with half of the town’s population before the end of his term in May - 10,000 people.
The task, which he says is “just something I want to do” all started when he was invited to help set off runners for a fun run on the Penwortham Bypass in July.
He said: “At the end of the race everyone was coming through and I thought it was nice to shake hands with these folk and acknowledge what they’d just done.
“I shook the hands of all of the people who did 5k and 10k, and about three quarters of those in the kids race.
“I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but the next day I realised I had a blister on the outside of the middle finger on my right hand. I realised that it was because I’d done over 1,200 handshakes.”
After this, Geoff asked his wife Helen ‘what next?’ and set himself a challenge to shake as many hands as possible - which might seem odd for someone who is “not a great lover of holding hands.”
In another curious twist, left-handed Geoff is attempting the challenge shaking with his right hand, because that’s the hand that most other people shake with.
He said: “I want to shake as many hands as possible. I’m the sort of person who will shake hands, I’m a big believer in it.
“As a councillor I’m not just representing people aged 20 to 60, I’m representing babies to 18 and people 75 and 90. I represent everyone, so I’m not just limiting handshakes to adults. When I shake kids hands they seem to be quite chuffed about it.”
The retired Lancashire County Council legal support team manager added: “There’s about 20,000 people in Penwortham, so I thought I’d aim for half, that’s a nice figure.
“Folk have said ‘don’t be daft’, but since I made the decision, I’ve been making careful notes in my diary of all the events I’ve been to and the number of hands I’ve shaken. I don’t want to overestimate the figure.”
Geoff’s current total is 3,000, with him commenting “once you get past 1,000 the problem is you hit on the same people twice.”
He’s shaken hands at events including Penwortham in Bloom, Penwortham Gala, various fundraisers, Scouts, Cubs and Beavers and said the reaction has been “pretty good so far”, but has a long way to go and is considering shaking the hands of pupils in assembly in three high schools in the town.
He said: “I’m trying to properly engage with people in the town. I have one shot, so why the hell not enjoy yourself?
“And it’s fascinating. You hear all these stories from people. Some are very sad, but others make you amazed at the spirit of folk.”