A RIBBLE Valley councillor has received a civic plaque in recognition of her extraordinary two years’ service as mayor during the coronavirus pandemic.

Past-Mayor Coun Stella Brunskill, who represents Mellor, was presented with a plaque at the borough council’s latest full meeting and thanked for her prolonged work throughout the pandemic’s hardship and disruption.

She, in turn, paid tribute to other borough councillors, staff and residents, for all the good work done during the past two years.

Ribble Valley Borough Council’s current Mayor, Coun Tony Austin, addressed Coun Brunskill directly, saying: “It gives me great pleasure to present this plaque to you. Your original year as mayor was due to run from May 2019 to May 2020. I understand that you had attended 110 events by March 2020, when the first national lock-down began. You had another 20 events pending at that time, which had to be cancelled.

“In the second year, you continued doing mayoral work at a reduced rate, in keeping with the regulations. Highlights included marking the anniversary of VJ Day in August 2020 and leading the two minutes’ silence for VE Day. I’m sure you regretted not being able to do a Lancashire Regiment event during the restrictions but you did many other important things over those two years.

“Councillors have spoken highly of your work, your support for charities as mayor and your chairing of council meetings using the dreaded Zoom. You also continued to work hard as a solo ward councillor for Mellor, following the death of Coun Noel Walsh in 2020.”

Councillors applauded Coun Brunskill as she accepted the plaque.

Speaking afterwards, she said: “It was a privilege to be mayor over two years. The pandemic was an extraordinary time and hit people differently over the months. Despite the restrictions, which we had to follow, I still had the chance to meet all kinds of people across the borough, which has been lovely.

“I was sorry that I did not get to see everyone as planned, because of the pandemic. But I also think that many good things arose during those very hard lockdown periods. So I like to look at the positives.

“During the lockdowns, people across the borough supported each other and especially those who were vulnerable. Councillors, council staff and residents all did great things. People helped each other with day-to-day essentials including shopping and chemist prescriptions, as well as the bigger support projects. People went out of their way to help and to keep in touch. There was some wonderful work done across the borough and it was a real eye-opener. I was proud of everybody.

“While I was mayor, we supported a number of charities and good causes, including organisations which help armed service veterans and young people’s clubs.

“I’ve had a role as children’s champion on the council and young people’s work really interests me. I think the more-recent period, since the lock-downs have ended, has been a healing time for many people. It has been great to get out and see people again, including young people back doing activities again, such as music, swimming or football.

“We have also supported the Lancashire-based Veterans in Communities (VIC). I come from a military family. My husband was in the Navy and my son is a lieutenant colonel. So this is another important area of work for me.”