The widow of a Chorley councillor who passed away earlier this year has been elected in his place.

Henry Caunce died in May after serving on the borough authority for 15 years.

In a by-election on Thursday, Valerie Caunce retained the Eccleston and Mawdesley ward for the Conservatives.

Mrs. Caunce has never held elected office before, but said she was motivated to stand by a desire to “see out my husband’s term”.    That term would have ended next year when all-out elections are being held on Chorley Council following upcoming boundary changes.

“I’m hoping to do him proud,” the now Councillor Caunce said after her poignant win.

“He enjoyed his time on the council and I hope I can continue his work.

“I have only ever supported my husband [in politics], so I’m sure I know absolutely nothing about how everything works, but I’m looking forward to finding out. 

“I will be familiarising myself at the town hall and then I’m sure I’ll be dropped in at the deep end.”

Cllr Caunce said her first-time campaign had been fought in a good spirit.

“We bumped into the opposition on a couple of occasions and I hope they would agree that it was a good-hearted contest.

“I was also well-supported by Conservative colleagues on both Chorley and South Ribble Borough councils, because we are in a crossover area,” Cllr Caunce added.

She says her priority is to do something to help the rural areas of the borough.

Cllr Caunce’s victory takes the Conservative tally on Chorley Council to eight, with the ruling Labour group holding 37 seats and two independents completing the electoral picture.


Valerie Marie Caunce (Conservative) – 1050 votes (63 percent)

Martin John Fisher (Labour) – 611 votes (36 percent) 

Spoilt papers – 19

CON hold

Turnout 33.07%