‘Tiser interview: Age no barrier for Erewash mayor Val Custance

Bridge House in Long Eaton, the new headquarters of enterprise agency Erewash Partnership are opened by entrepreneur, businesswoman and TV personality Saira Khan. Pictured here is Cheif Executive Ian Viles. Pictured is Deputy Mayor Cllr Val Custance.

Bridge House in Long Eaton, the new headquarters of enterprise agency Erewash Partnership are opened by entrepreneur, businesswoman and TV personality Saira Khan. Pictured here is Cheif Executive Ian Viles. Pictured is Deputy Mayor Cllr Val Custance.

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Every week Val Custance has a diary crammed full with events and meetings, not that’s she’s complaining .

The Mayor of Erewash, who is a great grandmother, may be 70 but she certainly does not feel it.

Since she was voted in as mayor in May she has relished in her role, which sees her meeting people from all walks off life.

She said: “I have had a really diverse list of duties since becoming mayor in May, starting with a trolley dash in Tesco, right up to last Thursday night when I went to a benevolent fund event at Chatsworth. The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and Alan Titchmarsh where there.

“Inbetween there has been lots and lots of charity stuff which is fantastic.

“I’m the 28th mayor of Erewash and have had 64 engagements since the end of May. “In front of me at the moment I have got a premier of a film at the Scala for children with mental health problems, and the raising of the flag at Straws Bridge.

“On Sunday I went to the Cedars and Larches care home open day and then to a civic service made up of a lot of other mayors. My civic service will be on October 4 at Christchurch in Cotmanhay.

“You never realise there are all these organisations exist until you become mayor. There are some fantastic people out there. There are 100,000 people in Erewash - it’s amazing the number of people I meet. Some people say to me why can’t an ordinary person be a mayor, my answer to that is I run the council as well - but as mayor I’m neutral, not a party. I represent the borough in anything the borough wants me to do.”

As well as her mayoral and council duties (she is Conservative councillor for Abbotsford Ward on Erewash Borough Council) Val has many other strings to her bow. She is also involved with the cadets and RAF, is a member of the Ilkeston Branch Conservative Association, and The Shipley View Residents Association. If that wasn’t enough she is also a befriender at the Bright Street Community Centre and has been a governor at Bennerley School, now Ormaston Acadamy, for 12 years.

She is a member of three council committees: Planning, Standards and Scrutiny and takes her work for the council, very seriously, it’s a 24/7 commitment which see her receive calls at all times of the day and night.

“There is such a lot of fabulous people out there, the whole of Erewash is a very close community andit is a pleasure and a privilege to be mayor here. It’s a fantastic job but hard work,” she said.

Val was born in Kimberley and attended Gilthill Primary School, then Bramcote Hills Technical Grammar School, where she continued into both lower and upper sixth forms, leaving in 1963, atteh age of 18.

She then embarked on a very successful career in the Civil Service, spending 43 years at the Nottingham District Land Registry, retiring in 2006.

Val moved, with her parents, and sister, to the new Wimpey Estate at Kirk Hallam in 1964 and, two years later, was married at Kirk Hallam Church.

She was widowed in 2005 and is now enjoying life with her partner Mike, who lives in Essex and is also her consort.

The pair first met more than 50 years ago, in 1962 , on a geography school field trip.

They had not seen each other for all those years until Mike, who is also widowed, tracked Val down and wrote her a letter asking her if she remembered him.

She said: “I told him of course I remembered him, he was fantastic.

“We are going on a Caribbean cruise together next year and will go to Blackpool in October. I think that’s what keep me going. People keep saying to me I’ve got a spring in my step.”