Chorley's new mayor 'honoured' to represent his life-long home - just don't ask him to use a mobile phone

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The new mayor of Chorley says it will be “a privilege” to help promote the place he has called home all his life.

Gordon France has taken up the ceremonial role as the borough’s first citizen, meaning his wife and fellow district councillor Margaret becomes mayoress. He told the Lancashire Post that the honour came as something of a surprise to him – in more ways than one.

“When Alistair [Bradley, Chorley Council leader] messaged me about it, Margaret saw the text first and said: ‘He’ll do it.’ So I didn’t have much choice about that really,” Gordon laughed.

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The 71-year-old – who represents the Chorley North East ward and has sat on the authority since 2014 – says he is proud of the borough and will strive to ensure it gets the recognition it deserves across all of its diverse urban and rural areas.

The new mayor of Chorley, Gordon France, is borough born and bred (image: Paul Heyes)The new mayor of Chorley, Gordon France, is borough born and bred (image: Paul Heyes)
The new mayor of Chorley, Gordon France, is borough born and bred (image: Paul Heyes)

“I just want to promote Chorley – I think we’re doing quite well in the town and you don’t achieve that without a certain amount of work,” he added.

Brinscall-born Gordon – who goes to the gym five days a week – retired from a career as a flooring specialist just over a decade ago before taking his seat on the council.

The mayor is apolitical in the discharge of his duties – and the Labour politician said he hoped to channel the collegiate cross-party atmosphere on the authority, with all members simply wanting Chorley “to be successful”.

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“I think the unusual thing about Chorley Council is that we have a [single] members’ room [at the town hall] – so we all mix, rather than having separate rooms,” he explained.

The new mayor and mayoress of Chorley fopr 2024/25, Gordon and Margaret France (image: Paul Heyes)The new mayor and mayoress of Chorley fopr 2024/25, Gordon and Margaret France (image: Paul Heyes)
The new mayor and mayoress of Chorley fopr 2024/25, Gordon and Margaret France (image: Paul Heyes)

While the father-of-two says he is comfortable with the glad-handing that will be expected of him as mayor over the next year, he will be taking inspiration from a slightly more famous Chorley politician.

“If you want to see someone work a room, just watch [MP] Sir Lindsay Hoyle – you can learn a lot from him,” Gordon said.

The mayor will be supporting the charities Citizens Advice, Chorley Women’s Centre and Chorley in Bloom as part of his fundraising work during his term of office.

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He told the Post that having Margaret alongside him, not just as his mayoress, but a fellow councillor, can only be an advantage in fulfilling the demands of the role – not least in helping him keep track of the mysterious digital device that is his mobile phone.

At the meeting where the new mayor was presented with the chains of office, Conservative opposition group leader Alan Platt jokingly suggested that he needed to be “chipped” so that the mayoral support staff would be able to find him.

Confessing to not being the most connected of people, Gordon revealed that he had recently been given a new mobile.

“[But] I can’t even work the thing,” he added wryly.

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