Clitheroe - successful locals in this Ribble Valley town
- Credit: Archant
Meet some of the devilishly successful people who make this glorious Ribble Valley town tick.
They say there was once a wizard named Jeremy, who lived in Clitheroe. He sold his soul to the devil in return for success but like all such tales, it ended badly. Luckily, today’s residents don’t have to take such drastic measures – success seems to come naturally to them. Hopefully, the ghost of poor old Jeremy silently cheers them on.
Georgie Kelly, aka DJ Georgie K, certainly has the right chemistry. In only three years, she’s achieved a reputation as one of the UK’s top DJs, playing a mixture of hip hop and R&B. It’s pretty impressive as there aren’t many female DJs, let alone such successful ones.
‘Some of my former teachers at Stonyhurst would be surprised I’m doing so well in the musical world as I wasn’t overly keen on the subject at school,’ said the 23-year-old.
‘DJ-ing took off pretty quickly for me though, and then I had to have that talk with my parents when I told them that I wanted to do this as a full time career.’
Luckily, her dad, Ian Kelly, knows all about grasping opportunities – as chief executive of Green Sky Energy he was named Entrepreneur of the Year. ‘He knows what it is to follow a dream,’ says Georgie, who is now in constant demand for a variety of top events all over the UK and Europe, as well as being on national radio and DJ-ing at private parties for the likes of Justin Bieber and Floyd Mayweather.
What’s more, she has just been confirmed to DJ in Ibiza alongside star names like French Montana and Tinie Tempah, and Georgie has just released her first single “Skibidi” featuring her brand new artist Sugar N Spice, which made it to the top ten in the iTunes Chart.
Her supportive dad still hasn’t seen her in action. That’s because Georgie doesn’t want his ‘dad dancing’ to be seen in public – although an Instagram picture of him doing just that might be something her social media followers would enjoy!
Sarwat Jaleel, a mother of three and former broadcaster who once made models for Blue Peter, now practises an alchemy of all her own. She makes a range of luxurious, completely natural soaps that contain essential oils which are even suitable for vegans.
Called Kushboo Soaps – an Urdu word combining happy and fragrance – Sarwat hand makes every bar in her Clitheroe home, using recipes that have been passed down through her family with a tweak here and there.
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‘I use my late dad’s pestle and mortar and I think the magic starts there and, when it’s mixed with a dollop of my Indian and Lancashire heritage, the sky is fast becoming the limit. As well as being stocked in the UK, they’re popular in America and one or two fashionable boutique hotels are giving them to guests.
‘I used my wedding gown to inspire the packaging and I’m starting to have a lot of fun putting together stylish presentation packs, as well as making personalised soaps for wedding favours and special birthdays,’ says Sarwat who also donates her delightfully fragrant soaps to local charities.
Sarwat and Georgie are rising stars but they are inspired by Clitheroe people who have maintained businesses for many years. This is proving to be a big year for siblings, Daniel and Deborah Burke, who own Lightworks Stained Glass. They will be celebrating their 20th anniversary next month with an Open Studio event and they’ve just been shortlisted as finalists for the 2018 Heritage Craft Awards. The pair have a national reputation for designing and producing stained glass as well as conserving pieces from historic buildings all over the UK.
‘Every day is different. We could be conserving a piece of important glass, making a piece for a leading London restaurant, designing for a private home or, and this is becoming more popular, making a piece for someone who wants to commemorate a family event,’ explains Daniel. He originally trained as a photographer but is now so passionate about glass that he runs courses in the studio.
‘I love passing on skills, but one basic requirement is that everyone needs to know how to wield a dustpan and brush because, lesson number one – glass can shatter,’ says Daniel.
Janet Dewhurst and her husband, Michael, have also built a reputation for their skills. They own Le Beau Cheval, a specialist equestrian tailor, manufacturing high quality ready-made and bespoke clothes and hats for the sartorial rider.
Orders flood into their small but perfectly organised workshop from all over the world, including America, Australia and Europe.
‘These skills are pretty rare now but we have a small specialist team who are highly trained and we all work brilliantly well together – even the workshop dogs, Caddy and Pimms, do their bit in making us smile,’ says Janet.
‘Mind you, we do believe in “measure twice, cut once”.
If a client sends in their measurements, instead of making an appointment to visit, they can sometimes prove to be optimistic and that’s when we have to employ tact!
‘We’ve also received requests from riders to make their wedding outfits – most are for waistcoats but one was actually for a bridal dress.’
They must be doing something very right because they are now seeing the grandchildren of original clients for their rite of passage first measurement.
The Clitheroe Ramblers don’t usually wear bespoke cagoules but they are one of the most successful walking groups in England. They will be celebrating their 50th birthday next year, with a variety of events including a challenging 60k walk. Their membership is 250 and rising, so if they all turn out for the Birthday Walk, it’s going to be quite a sight.
‘By then, it’s likely we’ll have even more members, as residents from recent housing developments join us to meet new people and to discover this gorgeous part of the world,’ says well-known local singer Frances Prince, a member for over 30 years. ‘We sometimes do themed walks, looking at history and nature and ordinary rambles range from five miles upwards. We have great camaraderie but, if anyone fancies doing a walk by themselves, then we have also published walking guides.’
Like other members, Frances is a footpath officer, working with landowners and the council, to make sure footpaths are maintained. ‘Some of these paths are ancient –they are part of our heritage and make this area so very special. In fact, we once went to the High Court over a path that had been quietly blocked. We won.’
The Ramblers aren’t the only group of winners in Clitheroe. The Ribble Valley Netball Club is another, with National Champions titles under their belts, bigger clubs such as Yorkshire Jets and Manchester Thunder regularly coming along to check out the talent. T
The club has also had the honour of being selected for the England Netball Pathway and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Natalie Haythornthwaite trained here. Judging by the fact that players are regularly selected for County Academies, she won’t be the last.
‘We are hugely proud of our success. We have over 200 members of varying ages and abilities – our youngest are five-years-old – and, although some want to play at a professional level, others just play for pleasure,’ says chairman, Tim McDermott.
‘The main thing is that we all – players, coaches and volunteers – enjoy what we’re doing. And we do.’ Tim is determined to prove that having fun doesn’t rule out playing at the highest level.
The devil will be out of luck if he visits Clitheroe again. In this town, they make their own success.