'This is for the people of Chorley': council leader wants residents to share in MBE recognition

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The leader of Chorley Council says the MBE he has received in the King’s Birthday Honours list is an accolade for the entire borough – and the people who make it the community-minded place that it is.

Alistair Bradley told the Lancashire Post he was in two minds about whether to accept the gong for political and public service, because – even after 12 years heading up the district authority – he still struggles to think of himself as part of “the establishment”.

“I still regard myself as a rebel,” the 55-year-old Labour veteran laughed.

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“I didn’t know I’d been nominated and so it came as a total shock. The letter also arrived the day after my dad’s funeral – and, yes, it was an honour, but then part of me thought, ‘Do I accept it or do I not?’

Cllr Alistair Bradley says Chorley retains the sense of community that has disappeared in some other placesCllr Alistair Bradley says Chorley retains the sense of community that has disappeared in some other places
Cllr Alistair Bradley says Chorley retains the sense of community that has disappeared in some other places

“But my wife said, ‘What would your Dad want you to do?’ And then I also realised that it’s not about myself – it’s recognition of what we’ve done in Chorley.

“It’s a great place – most people say they really like Chorley because it’s got that sense of community, which a lot of areas have lost. Everybody knows each other – and people actually do things.

“And as community representative, you’re not doing things yourself – you’re enabling others to do what they do. There are people who do much more volunteering, for instance, than I do – but get absolutely zero recognition and zero reward.

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“When [the council] does anything here, the community really buys into it – and that’s a reflection of a dynamic, engaged community, which makes my job very easy.

“Therefore, in the nicest possible way, I don’t think it’s an award for me, it’s an award for Chorley – and I’m a part of that, but I’m only part of it. Therefore, everybody should take some recognition and some satisfaction from it,” Cllr Bradley added.

He said the community spirit of the borough where he was born and bred even extends into the council chamber, where politicians of all colours during his time as leader have always been “batting for Chorley”.

”Your first priority is Chorley – and your second priority is politics,” he reflected.

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The father-of-two also paid tribute to his grown-up children, Euan and Imogen, and his wife of 28 years, Vanessa – all of whom, he says, have made sacrifices to enable him to pursue his political career, while also holding down his day job in the construction sector.

“There are plenty of [family] events I’ve missed or been late for, because I’ve been trying to juggle 20 different things. Sometimes you get your priorities wrong, don’t you?

“So they have contributed to the honour I’ve been given, because they support me – and I couldn’t do it on my own.”

Asked whether he imagined – when first took up the post – still being Chorley Council leader after 12 years, Cllr Bradley gives a resounding, ‘No.’

But he is clearly not done yet – and now with his MBE in tow, he remains focussed on the borough’s future.

“Watch this space, there is plenty more to come,” he said.

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