The new Chairman of the county council brings a wide range of experience including serving tea at Strangeways Prison and meeting the world’s first female Prime Minister.
County Councillor Anne Cheetham JP OBE, who represents Rossendale South, has begun her year in office. She was appointed at the annual Full Council meeting on Thursday 24 May.
Born in Southport, Anne’s family moved when she was young to Deepcut Army Barracks in a civilian posting, which started a journey to many countries around the world.
Anne started her career with Vickers Armstrong Aircraft in Weybridge, and then proceeded to the Commissioner’s Office in Sri Lanka, where she met some of the world’s most well-known leaders in the sixties.
While working in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, she met the world’s first female Prime Minister, Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka.
She also met Indira Gandhi, the first female Prime Minister of India.
A retired magistrate, Anne served on the bench for 29 years dealing with thousands of cases, including the Sophie Lancaster murder case.
Anne has two grown-up children and an 18-month-old granddaughter.
Along with her husband Jeffrey, who passed away in 2007, they fostered 24 children. This is a hugely important issue to Anne, who is keen to raise awareness of fostering and adoption during her year as Chairman.
Anne said: “When we fostered children, Jeffrey and I saw how they had been through difficult times before they came to us. We knew that we could help and support them.
“I’m very proud of Crestmoor, the children’s home in my electoral division. It’s rated as Outstanding and I know they have wonderful staff. I’m proud to say that the county council runs this home and others around the county.
“It’s important to highlight all of the good work by our services to help children and young people, many of whom have been through a difficult start to their lives and are now getting support to help themselves.”
Anne received an MBE from HM The Queen, and an OBE from HRH Prince Charles for her fostering work.
In 2014, she joined an all-female team from the Ramsbottom Soroptimists for the BBC TV show Eggheads, winning £9,000 which they gave to charity, including local charities and towards a new school in Sierra Leone.
Helping other people is a key aim for Anne, who previously volunteered with the Women’s Voluntary Service (now the Royal Voluntary Service) at local hospitals and Meals on Wheels services, as well as serving tea to visitors at Strangeways Prison in Manchester.
She also worked as an area appeals organiser for The Cancer Research Campaign, which raised money directly for The Paterson Institute (part of Christie Hospital in Manchester).
The charity helped to raise £25m in two years for a new Teenage Cancer Ward in Manchester. Anne lost her husband Jeffrey to cancer in 2007, so this remains an important cause to her.
Anne has just served as Vice Chairman to County Councillor Terry Aldridge during his year in office. The county council’s new Vice Chairman will be County Councillor Paul Rigby, who represents Fylde South.
She added: “I’ve spent the past year working alongside Terry Aldridge. On behalf of Lancashire I’d like to thank Terry for all of his work. I’m looking forward to working with Paul to highlight the many wonderful things in our county and raise awareness of important issues that affect people’s daily lives.”