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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Joe and Dorothy Holliday's year of the fascinators

“In China, they had the year of the rabbit, but in Allerdale we celebrated Dorothy’s fascinators,” joked Allerdale mayor Joe Holliday.

Coun Holliday and his wife Dorothy have been fixtures on the civic circuit since he became mayor last year.

The pair have attended more than 130 official engagements, met four members of the royal family, visited 26 of the Allerdale council district’s 31 wards, and Mrs Holliday has bought 19 fascinators.

She has become as well-known for her headgear as Coun Holliday is for his rugby league knowledge – he has more than 45,000 records of individual players – and she particularly liked the feathery teal blue number she wore on Tuesday when Prince Charles visited Wigton.

Planning to take the total to 20 before Joe steps down next month, she said: “I love my fascinators, and have enjoyed wearing every one of them.

“After Joe’s year as mayor ends we are being invited to Buckingham Palace, so I will have to buy a special one for that.

“I will never wear them again. They were each special for the occasion they were worn.”

But it’s not just been about the special occasions and meetings with royalty for this pair.

So far they have raised £14,000 for West Cumbrian charities, and money continues to pour in for the man who never wanted to be mayor.

The charities to benefit will be the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Meningitis Trust, Stroke Association, Anaphylaxis Research and Youth Rugby League in Allerdale.

Coun Holliday said: “The amount of support we’ve had has been amazing.

“When I entered politics I had no ambitions to be mayor. It just wasn’t a position I wanted.

“I always thought mayors just ponced around in a big gold chain, but I’ve found out the hard way that it’s so much more than that.

“Seeing the faces of the people whose lives we have brought smiles to has been very touching.

“I am proud to have served Allerdale, and I hope the people feel the same about Dorothy and me.”

The couple aren’t winding down, though. They aim to visit the five wards they haven’t been to in an official capacity, which includes Great Clifton.

Coun Holliday said: “Despite the fact that I’m chairman of governors at Derwent Vale School, Clifton is one of the wards I haven’t officially visited.

“I have been many times, but never in my capacity as mayor. That will change by the time next month comes around.”

Ellenborough, in Maryport, is also missing off the list as well as wards towards Silloth.

One of his last fund-raising events as the mayoral year comes to a close will be a social evening to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Workington Town’s Wembley triumph.

Town beat Featherstone 18-10 in front of 72,000 fans and Coun Holliday has arranged for Bev Risman OBE, son of Workington great Gus who captained the team, to be the star attraction.

Mr Risman will be guest of honour at the event at Workington’s Washington Central Hotel on Thursday, April 19.

Combining his love of rugby with his fund-raising talents, Coun Holliday said: “I have met some incredible people along the way and this is a thank you to everyone who has supported me.

“We have raised a lot of money for some great causes and I hope this will be a night people never forget.

“Footage of the game will be shown on screens around the room, and it will be great to hear what Bev, who enjoyed a distinguished career, has to say.”

Tickets are £25. Call 01900 66319 for more information.

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