freemanCOLNE Town Council met for an Extraordinary Full Council last Thursday to restore the Council’s powers to grant freemanships of the town. This was last done in 1970 and was granted then to County Alderman Walmsley Riddiough.

Cllr. Sarah Cockburn-Price explained: “I did a bit of delving with the inestimable help of Christine Bradley at the Library. I thought it was a tradition we should bring back and I thought Steven Burke would be the perfect first recipient of the honour. 46 years is an awfully long time, even in an ancient town like Colne – many of our councillors weren’t even born then.”

Councillors unanimously resolved that the Freemanship of Colne should be granted to Double Olympic Champion Steven Burke and the presentation of the illuminated scroll will be made on Saturday, 10th, after the Homecoming Parade.


The Parade will start at 11.30 a.m., leaving from the bottom of Albert Road before making its way through Colne via Craddock Road and finally arriving at the Town Hall at around 12.30 p.m. where after some photographs, at around 1 p.m, Steven will be joined on stage by the Mayor of Pendle, who will make a short speech. Helen Wakefield of 2BR will interview Steven in front of the crowd before the Freemanship of Colne will be awarded. Steven, his family, the Mayor and Mayoress and town councillors will then retire to the Council Chamber for the Civic Reception.

The elaborate, illuminated scroll is being prepared by specialist heraldic artist, Robin Utracik. The citation will read: “That this Council do hereby record its high appreciation of the sporting achievements of Mr. Steven Burke MBE, who won a bronze medal for Individual Pursuit in the 2008 Olympics, was part of the team that won the World championships in the Team Pursuit in 2012 and won Olympic Gold medals in both the 2012 and 2016 Games in the Team Pursuit. He is a member of the team that broke the world record for the Team Pursuit on five occasions and currently holds the world record. And in recognition of his outstanding sporting success and as a mark of the high esteem in which he is held by his fellow citizens, the Town Council do hereby admit Mr Steven Burke MBE to be an Honorary Freeman of the Town of Colne, the greatest honour which it is their privilege to bestow.”

Joining Steven on the Parade through the town will be his extended family who will be riding on the newly named Steven Burke bus. Transdev has chosen to name a X43 double decker Witchway bus after Steven because it links his birthplace in Burnley with his current home town of Colne and the city of Manchester, where he trained at the National Cycling Centre. Transdev Burnley CEO, Alex Hornby commented: “We are very proud of Steven’s great success in becoming Lancashire’s own Gold Medal winner at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. It’s entirely fitting that we should play our part in celebrating his momentous achievement.”

In addition, Nissan, sponsor to the GB Olympic Team, is providing several vehicles for the Parade from Nissan Burnley, including the one Steven will ride in. Also in the Parade will be Colne’s Gala Queen, Phoebe Lord, 12, who attends Park High School.

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