'Father' of Lancaster City Council marks 90th birthday

Friends and colleagues of Lancaster city councillor Abbott Bryning made sure he celebrated a special milestone.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 11:18 am
Updated Monday, 18th April 2022, 11:07 am

When he expected only a drink with a neighbour, 25 people turned up at Skerton Liberal Club in Lancaster to wish him a happy 90th birthday.

Abbott is father of Lancaster City Council, having notched up a record 55 years' unbroken service as a city councillor since he was a 35-year-old lecturer at Lancaster & Morecambe College.

Lancaster MP Cat Smith, former MP Hilton Dawson and Labour leader Coun Erica Lewis congratulated Abbott on his achievement.

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Coun Abbott Bryning (seated centre) with friends and colleagues at a surprise 90th birthday celebration. Picture by Steve Pendrill

Mayor Mike Greenall also popped in after an official engagement.

Abbott was born in 1932, the same year Morecambe Town Hall was built.

He attended Morecambe Grammar School and was the first member of the family to go to university in the 1950s, attending Sheffield University.

Abbott joined the Labour Party while a student and was signed up by Labour’s former deputy leader, Roy Hattersley.

He became a councillor in 1967 and has won 15 elections. He was Mayor twice and is a former leader of the council.

Abbott was elected to represent Bulk ward from May 1967 to May 2007.

He went on to be elected to represent Skerton East ward in May 2007, May 2011, May 2015 and May 2019.

He currently sits on the council’s planning and audit committees, as well as being appointed to outside bodies for Heysham Nuclear Power Station Local Community Liaison Committee, Lancaster and Skipton Rail User Group,

Lancaster Ripley Church of England Education Trust and The Community Rail Partnership (formerly Leeds-Morecambe and Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Partnership).

Abbott also was the Labour candidate for Morecambe in the 1983 General Election, losing to Mark Lennox-Boyd.

Distinguished service to Lancaster University was recognised with an honorary degree.

“His name is synonymous with Skerton and Lancaster,” said Alan Sandham, a junior reporter with the Lancaster Guardian when Abbott was first elected.

“The service he has given is amazing.”

Abbott’s wife Elsie passed away several years ago. The couple have two daughters – Gail, who lives in Sheffield, and Deborah, who lives in the Morecambe cottage where Abbott was brought up. He also has several grandchildren.