THE chairman of Skelmersdale Junior Football League for more than 30 years, Joe Nelson, is to receive the Freedom of the Borough – the highest honour West Lancashire Borough Council can bestow on any citizen or body.
Joe will be given the recognition at a special meeting this week to celebrate his years of service at the organisation which oversees more than 1,000 youngsters playing football every Sunday in Skelmersdale.
The council may admit “persons of distinction and persons who have in the opinion of the authority, rendered eminent services” to the borough as Honorary Freeman.
On the same evening, former West Lancs Mayor Iain Ashcroft is to be given the title of Honorary Alderman of the Borough, in recognition of the ‘eminent services’ he has rendered to the Council, during the 21 years in which he was a member of West Lancashire Borough Council.
Skelmersdale Junior Football League has been running for children in the community since 1972.
The league is run by volunteers and is affiliated to the Liverpool County Football Association.
Joe, 85, told the Champion: “The lads on the committee of the Junior League put me forward for the honour and it took me by surprise. My family and I are very pleased with the recognition.
“I have been involved with the Junior League for 45 years and 30 of them as chairman. The league started in 1972. I got involved in 1974 as a manager, then joined the committee, and became the chairman. I do it for the youth of Skelmersdale.
“The league has many good managers who look after the youngsters and train them. But it has been so difficult over the last 18 months at the height of the pandemic - however, in the last few weeks more than 1,000 kids have started playing football again regularly.
“Today we have some excellent facilities, but for years we had a tin hut.”
Following the ceremony today (Wednesday) Joe and his family planned a celebration at the Tanner pub in Skelmersdale where he could be congratulated on his achievements.Continued on p3
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Iain Ashcroft was a Conservative Member of West Lancashire Borough Council for 21 years in the Hesketh-with-Becconsall Ward from May 2000.
The proposed Alderman will be in attendance at the meeting on Wednesday, October 13, to accept the Alderman scroll and Council Shield.
A former parish councillor for Hesketh-with-Becconsall, Mr Ashcroft was formally elected as Mayor at the Borough Council meeting on Wednesday, May 15, 2013. He took over as Mayor from Councillor Paul Greenall.
He has been chairman of the Council’s Executive Overview and Scrutiny Committee and has served as Portfolio Holder for Street Scene; Planning; and Human Resources on the Cabinet, stepping down from the latter role to become Deputy Mayor.
He has also been a member of a number of other committees and represented the Council on the North Western Local Authorities Employers Organisation and the Lancashire Waste Partnership.
In addition he has been a member of the West Lancashire ‘Three Tier’ Forum and the Community Safety Partnership.