All good things come to an end... and so, after almost 12 years, I’ve worked my final day at The Clitheroe Advertiser and Times.
I leave, in many ways, reluctantly, but circumstances dictate it is time to move on and seek a new challenge.
As an “offcumden” to the Ribble Valley, and born a Yorshireman, I have often joked that my post here in the heart of Clitheroe has seen me “engaged in missionary work”.
I truth, I am the one who has been converted.
Sometimes it takes an outsider’s eyes to really see and appreciate what makes a place special, and believe me, this is a very special place and one which anyone privileged to live here should never take for granted. For a start, the physical setting is simply magnificent. You live surrounded by some of the finest countryside in the UK, from verdant pasture to windswept dramatic moorland and, of course, the imposing Pendle Hill and Kemple End.
This environment may belong to nature, but it is managed and manicured by a thriving community across the borough, one not defined by physical proximity, but by occupation. Please, do not ever, take for granted the vital work of your farmers.
There is a business community, too, working together in the Valley’s towns, its work bringing benefits to the wider area by making it a vibrant place, attractive to visitors.
Clubs and societies thrive here – whatever your hobby or passion, chances are there’s a group for it, bringing together people of shared interests and, in doing so, strengthening the community. Your service organisation in particular – Rotary, Round Table, Lions, Inner Wheel, Civic Society – all work directly for the good of the place they call home.
Your police force is small but efficient, boasting crime levels many places could never dream of. And your borough council, so often in the firing line, works quietly and effctively to manage this borough at the lowest possible cost to those who live here. Believe me, there are few, if any, better.
But, most of all, it is the people who make this place special. I will greatly miss my colleagues, here in Clitheroe and the wider East Lancashire Newspapers family. But I also count as colleagues the many people I have been privileged to meet and build a working relationship with across the Valley, those who week after week send in their letters, club reports, village news...
This is their newspaper, and yours too if you want it.
Long may it continue.