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Friday, 19 September 2014

Furness Magistrates’ Court, holds celebration for retired magistrates

RETIRING magistrates have been honoured for a combined service of more than 80 years.

Furness and District Magistrates’ Court, in Barrow, staged a celebration on Thursday to say thanks to four Justices of the Peace – John Jones, Keith Butcher, Allan Thompson, and Ian Ronald, who have retired from the bench having reached 70.

Also honoured was magistrate, Tony Brierley, of the Millom area, who stepped down after more than 20 years, who was unable to attend.

Fellow magistrates filled the courtroom for the occasion and rose bowls were presented to the men.

Jacqui Barnfield, chairwoman of the bench, thanked them for their “humility, graciousness and great enthusiasm” in the voluntary role.

Retired financial adviser Mr Jones, from Bardsea, served for 24 years and was a North Lonsdale magistrate before an amalgamation established the Furness court.

He said: “My lasting memories are of working with people who I have a lot of respect for, making decisions which were quite demanding.

“It can be very difficult cases if you have a trial with no witnesses. You can’t walk away, you have to come to a structured decision.”

Mr Butcher, of Ulverston, a former boss at Bowater Scott – now Kimberly-Clark – served for 19 years, 10 years before retirement.

The former chairman of the youth court said: “The camaraderie in the retiring room is something I will really miss.

“It’s been very interesting work, sometimes rewarding, sometimes frustrating.

“We want to see young people turned around and lead good lives.We try to engage with young people so we can see their point of view and they can see everyone else’s someone point of view.”

Mr Thompson, a retired army brigadier, of Blawith, who served for 12 years, said: “It’s been really interesting and at times challenging. The discussions in the retiring room are the best part of it.

“I’ve sat in youth court and there are occasions when you felt a youth had been turned around, and that is also one of the best parts.”

Mr Ronald, of Gleaston, whose father was also a magistrate, served for 11 years after retiring from BAE. He said: “It’s been rewarding, challenging, and at times stressful.”

Mr Ronald said the root problem seen in many cases was related to drink and drugs.

He said one of the most satisfying elements was working on the drugs panel.

Mr Ronald said: “You would see the treatment gradually take effect and people getting their lives back in order, not everyone achieved that, but a significant number did.”

Have your say

Inspiring words from those recently retiring from Furness & District Magistrates Court with more than 80 years public service behind them. If elected as Labour's Police & Crime Commissioner I will work in partnership with the Courts, Police, Probation, voluntary and community groups to ensure Cumbria remains the lowest crime area in England.

Posted by PATRICK LEONARD on 5 September 2012 at 20:18

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