RETIRING Ribble Valley Mayor Cllr Mark Hindle is celebrating visiting 26 schools and community groups and hosting a visit from Ukrainian students during his year in office.

The Whalley and Painter Wood Conservative pledged to get out and about to meet people at the start of his civic year.

A former microbiologist and NHS chief executive, he moved to Whalley more than a decade ago when he was appointed chief executive of the Calderstones Partnership Foundation Trust.

With a keen interest in education and championing young people, he has held trustee posts at the Champion Education Multi-Academy Trust in Blackburn and the Old Grammar School in Whalley.

Cllr Hindle has also been involved in the development of Ebeneezer’s Café and Community Centre in Whalley and Billington.

And during his year of office he met 26 schools and community groups – over two a month – to talk about the mayoralty and public life, as well as undertaking regular walkabouts.

As well as visiting schools, Cllr Hindle visited several community groups offering support to people with dementia and their families, including the Ribble Valley Dementia Alliance and Singing for the Brain, the former being one of his chosen charities.

He also hosted a visit from Ukrainian students, where he chatted about life in the Ribble Valley and the mayoralty.

After the visit, Olha Vazhova, head teacher at School 4 in Vinnystia, Ukraine, presented him with a book printed in Ukrainian and English showing the country’s many regional heritage sites.

Cllr Hindle said: “I have always had a keen interest in education and championing young people, and meeting schools and community groups, particularly the youngsters from Ukraine, who are living under the most trying of circumstances, as well seeing the wealth and breadth of fantastic work being undertaken by groups across the borough, has been one of the highlights of my mayoral year.”