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Mayor Making Ceremony 2017: Councillor Ian Duckworth is the new Mayor of Rochdale

Date published: 18 May 2017

Councillor Ian Duckworth was sworn in as the new Mayor of Rochdale at the annual mayor making ceremony held at Rochdale Town Hall on Wednesday (17 May).

Guests in the Great Hall watched the traditional ceremony as the departing Mayor and Mayoress, Ray and Elaine Dutton, officially stepped down and handed over their gold chains to Councillor Duckworth and his wife, Christine.

Councillor Mohammed Zaman was appointed Deputy Mayor and will become the Mayor next year. His daughter, Naaira Zaman, has been appointed Deputy Mayoress.

Councillor Duckworth said: “It’s extra special having been born here. I have many childhood memories built around the backdrop from years in the centre and the fabulous Town Hall.

“I never thought I’d be standing here all these years later. I look forward to it. There’s lots of good people doing good things in borough.

“I’d like to thank Ray and Elaine for their friendship, advice and support. If I can be even three quarters as great as him, I’ll be happy with that. He’s a hard act to follow.”

Councillor Duckworth was born and brought up in Rochdale. He attended Lowerplace Primary School and Kingsway High. Upon leaving school, he became a time served painter and decorator and later trained as a barber.

Tiring of ladders and haircuts, he fulfilled a lifelong ambition and joined the army, serving in the Royal Corps of Signals. He completed a five-year tour of duty in the British Army of the Rhine, meeting his future wife Christine whilst on leave, they married in 1979 and she accompanied Councillor Duckworth on his travels from that time forward.

In 1982 they were posted to the permanent staff of the Royal Military College Sandhurst for three years, during which time their two daughters Elizabeth and Catherine were born.

On promotion to sergeant in 1986, Councillor Duckworth was transferred to Lisburn for a two and a half year tour of Northern Ireland. Retiring from the army in 1988, he returned to Rochdale working in warehousing and logistics finishing his career as a manager at Littlewoods National Distribution Centre.

In 1997 Christine gave birth to their son Richard, who is currently studying at college.

In 1992, Councillor Duckworth, encouraged by old family friend Arnold Bagnall, stood for election in Balderstone, and to everyone’s amazement, including his own, he won.

He served this ward for eight years, transferring to Bamford ward in 2004 due to boundary changes. He has represented Bamford for the past eight years. He has also been a member of Transport for Greater Manchester in its various incarnations for many years.

Councillor Duckworth also took up watercolours, describing himself as an accidental exponent of the ‘naïve’ school of painting.

Christine Duckworth was born in Oldham and later moved to Royton. She attended Blue Coat Secondary School and on leaving trained as a teacher at Bishop Longdale College in Derby. She met Councillor Duckworth when he was on leave from the army and when they married, she joined him in Germany, gaining a teaching position at a primary school for British services families at Enger, near Herford.

Mrs Duckworth then accompanied her husband to Sandhurst where their two daughters were born. She and the two girls also joined Councillor Duckworth in Northern Ireland living in married quarters in Lisburn for 18 months, before returning to England prior to Councillor Duckworth leaving the army a year later.

Mrs Duckworth resumed her teaching career in Rochdale at Queensway Primary School, then Howard Street Nursery and finally St Mary’s Primary Balderstone, retiring as head teacher 24 years later.

She now enjoys gardening; walking, swimming, travelling and also tutors looked after children on a part-time basis.

Deputy Mayor & Mayoress

Councillor Zaman was born in Azad Kashmir and moved to Rochdale in 1975. He started his first paid job at Arrow Mill in Castleton.

He is also a former local government officer who served as a community languages service co-ordinator for Bury Council for 18 years and over 25 years as a part-time youth worker. He went on to complete a diploma in teaching community languages, certificates in bilingual skills, youth and community work culminating in a postgraduate degree in teaching.

Councillor Zaman became a councillor for Milkstone and Deeplish ward in 2011 after being inspired by the late Mayor of Rochdale, John Beasley. He has a passion for travelling and exploring different places and cultures.

He is married with four sons and four daughters and has seven grandchildren.

Deputy Mayoress Naaira Zaman (Councillor Zaman's daughter) was born in Rochdale and is a former student of Balderstone Technology College. She has worked at Falinge Park High School and holds a BA (Hons) in Politics and Culture from Manchester Metropolitan University.

She has worked at Rochdale Borough Council as a policy support officer and as part of the community safety team at Manchester City Council. Naaira has also served on the governing body at Oulder Hill School between 2011 and 2015. She is married to a GMP officer and has two children.

The Mayor’s charities this year will be:

Entertainment was provided by pianist Richard Lord of Rochdale Music Service, bagpiper Stuart Hay, singer 17-year-old Ellie Goddard, fanfare from Rochdale Music Service, Saddleworth Male Voice Choir and The Carers’ Choir. 

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Serenity by Kim Gregory.