VOTERS in parts of Rossendale are being urged to vote in two upcoming by-elections.

Elections will take place in Healey and Whitworth and Irwell wards on October 7 following the recent resignation of councillors Roger Wilson and Michael Christie.

Joanne Smith, election manager for Rossendale Council, said: “We want to encourage as many voters as possible in these by-elections.

“Councillors have a vital role in making decisions about local services and deciding on council policy.”

Coun Wilson, of Meadowhead Farm, Whitworth, a retired college principal, now works as a research academic, writer and artist.

And Coun Christie resigned from his Irwell seat in Bacup, for health reasons.

Tory Elizabeth Heath and Labour's Helen Jackson, chief executive of Horse and Bamboo Theatre, will compete in Irwell ward, Bacup. Former county councillor Sean Serridge will stand in Healy and Whitworth ward for Labour.

He faces David Bradbury, of Community First, Conservative Marie Gibbons and Liberal Democrat Clive Laight.

Any voters who may be absent on polling day can make arrangements to vote by post or through a proxy.

The deadline for postal vote applications to be received by the council is 5pm on Wednesday September 22 and for proxy votes is 5pm on Wednesday September 29.

Electors who wish to make alterations to their arrangements must also contact the election office before 5pm on September 22.