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Former council leader receives New Year honour


FORMER leader of Warrington Borough Council Ian Marks, who helped spearhead the popular Lymm Festival, is one of those from the area to receive a New Year honour.

Ian, who has received an MBE, said: “I was completely taken back when the letter arrived from the Cabinet Office. It is a great honour to be recognised and not something I was expecting.”

Ian moved to Lymm in 1971 with his wife Pam, soon after joining St helens based glass manufacturer Pilkington as a graduate trainee. He soon became involved in the community by joining the local Round Table, founding a Community Action Group in Lymm and becoming Chairman of the Warrington Shelter Group.

In 1979 he was elected to Lymm Parish Council and has been a member ever since. In 1983 Ian was elected as one of Lymm’s representatives on Warrington Borough Council. From 2006 to 2011 he was Leader of this Council.

During this period he became the first Chairman of the Cheshire and Warrington Leadership Board, formed as a result of local government reorganisation in Cheshire following the winding up of the County Council. For a while he served on the Board of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership having been involved in its formation. Ian also served for a time as the Deputy Chairman of the North West Leaders’ Board.

Twenty years ago he had the idea of starting up a community and arts festival in Lymm. This has gone from strength to strength and puts on around fifty events over an eleven-day period. For most of this time, Ian has chaired the Festival Committee.

For over thirty years he was a member of the Board of Warrington Housing Association. He is currently a Governor at a primary school in Lymm and a Trustee of Warrington Citizens Advice.

Also receiving an MBE for public and charitable services is local solicitor Norman Banner, a former Chairman at Warrington Hospital, who retired as Chairman at St Rocco’s Hospice after a 10 year stint earlier this year.

Norman, who is married with two sons and lives in Lymm, is also a Deputy Lord Lieutenant and continues to work as consultant at FDR Law where he had previously been a partner for many years.

Norman Banner pictured at his retirement at St Rocco’s Hospice

Commenting on his honour Norman said: ” I am delighted to receive this honour from Her Majesty and I am proud to join the others from St Rocco’s Hospice who have been given awards in the past. It is not only in recognition of what I may have done but also of the strenuous efforts of all staff and trustees at SRH.

“My sons are looking forward to a visiting the Palace already!”

Dr Tracey Cooper, head of midwifery at Warrington and Halton NHS Trust was also awarded an MBE for services to midwifery.

The Care Quality Commission special advisor, who has worked in the area for 25 years, sits on the British Journal of Midwifery’s editorial board and has also assisted midwives in Bulgaria.



About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.


  1. Sadly local people rewarded throughout the country for their genuinely selfless efforts to their communities are honoured with the same honours given to countless political cronies, failures and hangers-on. Because of the latter three categories the honours system has been been devalued and for the most part lost the respect of the public. We need an honours system that is devoid of political patronage.

  2. I agree POSITRON the honours system has been devalued.
    It’s ridiculous that Ian Marks, (one of the main players in the deceitful, behind closed doors, attempt to sell off Walton Hall and Gardens) should get an award. It was a disgraceful business and all those involved should have been forced to resign. Not a shred of integrity between them!

    • SHA – while I may agree with some of the sentiments about gongs being handed out to politicians – I know Ian personally and he has done a huge amount of voluntary work in the local community – including helping spearhead the highly successful Lymm festival and is probably more deserving of the honour than some politicians.

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