'Instrumental' Heysham community champion to step down after 18 years in role

Peter Whaley - who has been responsible for events such as the annual bonfire and fireworks display, the Viking Festival and the car show - is retiring as Heysham Neighbourhood Council chair.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 10:40 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 10:42 am

The 56-year-old self-employed builder and lifelong resident of Heysham took the decision to relinquish his position to focus on other ventures outside of his current role.

Peter joined Heysham Neighbourhood Council (HNC) in 2000 with the aim of resurrecting the annual bonfire and fireworks display.

In 2003, he then revived interest in the car show, making it a regular, annual event on the Heysham Village calendar ever since.

Peter Whaley with the Viking Festival volunteers and HNC committee members from 2017.

2003 was also the year Peter was appointed Chair of the HNC.

A spokesperson for Heysham Neighbourhood Council, said: “During his tenure with HNC, Peter has been responsible for overseeing everything from the Christmas lights switch-on to helping prevent the positioning of a phone mast outside The Old Hall pub.

“Peter was also instrumental in negotiating a contract to acquire an annual grant of £1,000 from the local solar farm, while his continued hard work with Lancaster City Council to accommodate a new play park in the village in 2011 and securing lottery funding to bring added activities into the community has served to make Heysham an even greater place to live."

Peter was also responsible for bringing the extremely successful Viking Festival to the village in 2016, which has grown year-on-year and attracted up to 10,000 people over a single weekend.

Peter Whaley at The Bookmakers.

He also sat on the board that helped bring the Mossgate Sports Facility to the area.

He has also been praised for removing much of the formality surrounding the HNC and helping to bring it into the 21st century.

Peter expressed his gratitude to all those who helped him along the way and praised the great teams he worked with over the years.

He also wished incoming chair, Philip Lee, and the new and continuing members of the Executive Committee, all the best going forward.

Peter presenting an award for best shield design to Annalise McVernon of St Peter's C ofE Primary School at the 2016 Viking Festival.

Even though Peter is taking a step away from his duties, the lifelong Heysham resident has no plans to leave the family house he grew up in.

As a village native who attended St Peter’s Primary School and then Heysham High School, his focus will now turn to the micropub he opened in 2019 and the recently acquired Ship Hotel in Overton.

Peter will also continue with his voluntary services to the local community by continuing in his ongoing position of Chair at the Heysham Village Institute.

Find out more about The Ship Hotel in Overton HERE.Find out more about The Bookmakers micropub in Heysham HERE.

Heysham Viking Festival. Photo: Steve Pendrill Photography.