Controversy over Garstang Town Council's Remembrance event

Coun Roger Brooks, organiser of the Town Council's evening event
Coun Roger Brooks, organiser of the Town Council's evening event
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Town Councillor Roger Brooks organised Garstang’s ‘Battles O’er’ evening event on Remembrance Day to acclaim.

But this week town councillors were told he had breached the council’s standing orders and financial regulations when progressing the project.

The alleged failing was that he had not kept the clerk and RFO (Responsible Financial Officer) up to date with spending.

In the event Coun Brooks came in well under the £750 budget for the Town Council organised event.

He told the Courier he would be studying the regulations but until then could not comment on “whether he had transgressed or not”.

He said: “I’m going to read them and come to my own conclusion.

“It was left to councillors. If councillors wish to follow up the allegations that I was in breach of standing orders and financial regulations they could individually request the matter to be brought to the next council meeting for consideration. I really have no idea whether it will happen or not.”

The event, which included readings, a sing-along, a beacon lighting by town mayor Coun Leah Hynes and a “Cry For Peace” by Town Crier Hilary McGrath was attended by hundreds of people. Costs amounted to £599 and included £70 for a singer and £60 for an accompanist, £250 for event support by Darrel Edwards, £49 for photocopying song sheets and £78 printing costs.

He acknowledged he did not formally report individual bills as the event had an overall budget and was arranged at short notice: “From the October meeting to November 11 things were happening and changing, Had we been able to organise this several months ago the plans could have been in place. I just hope that this issue over compliance will not overshadow the lasting effect of the Armistice Day event.”

The Town Council's agenda for its meeting last Monday also informed councillors that the council's lengthsman had worked five hours on Remembrance Day to facilitate the beacon event and it had been agreed he would be taking time off rather than payment.

A £50 donation is to be made to the Community First Aid Corps which provided First Aid cover at the event.

Town clerk Edwina Parry was not available for comment.