Royal blush as mayor is ‘snubbed’

In the cold: Garstang mayor Chris Ryan stands outside a travel agent shop while the Princess Royal conducted her visit
In the cold: Garstang mayor Chris Ryan stands outside a travel agent shop while the Princess Royal conducted her visit
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Princess Anne may only have visited Garstang for just over half an hour, but she made a big impression.

Delighted onlookers applauded with enthusiasm after she urged them to shop at the Save the Children store.

As president of the international charity she had a special reason to visit the town - to say a personal thank you to the volunteers who run the charity’s shop.

She arrived by helicopter at Garstang Country and Golf Club, before being driven into the town centre. She was welcomed to the Save the Children store on Market Place by a line up of VIPs and charity representatives including 23 volunteers, the Mayor and Mayoress of Wyre Coun John and Mrs Linda Hodgkinson and Wyre MP Ben Wallace.

The shop’s volunteer manager Phillip Furse, who was Lieutenant Commander at HMS Inskip until 1995, said: “The volunteers were delighted to meet her. She’s very down to earth - no airs and graces.”

He said the Princess was “very impressed” by the shop’s bridal and special occasion wear section.

For most of the 30 or so minutes the Princess was in Garstang Mayor Coun Chris Ryan stood outside Garstang Travel.

He said: ”I think my invitation got lost in the post! I’m sure it was just an oversight.”

Shop manager Mr Furse said: “I felt very sorry for him (Coun Ryan). He wasn’t on the original list and the lady from the Lieutenant’s office said she couldn’t alter anything at that late stage and was very apologetic.”

Meanwhile, former mayor and now Independent County Coun Sandra Perkins was furious. She said:“I’m speechless - I think it’s a snub to the town.

“The mayor should not have to attend something like that as an also-ran. I stayed away in protest I would have liked to have gone and been part of the crowds.

“I purposely didn’t go in protest at the Mayor not being invited.”

She added: “I find it scandalous that the ancient office of Mayor of Garstang in the Duchy of Lancaster is overlooked yet again, (last time was the Olympic torch). It is not about the person it is about the office which has been in existence far longer than the Mayor of Wyre and as such should be acknowledged.”

She now plans to write to the county’s Lord Lieutenant Lord Shuttleworth.

To show there would be no long lasting hard feelings, Coun Ryan shook hands with the Mayor of Wyre.