‘Farmers’ Friend’ Louise is the New Ribble Valley Mayor

Published: 4th June 2024

Louise edge mayor with consort
SWITCHED ON - Ribble Valley's new mayor is computer buff and business entrepreneur Louise Edge.

A former computer buff and business entrepreneur who is passionate about rural life is Ribble Valley’s new mayor.

‘Farmers’ friend’ Louise Edge received her civic chains at a ceremony in the Ribble Valley Borough Council Chamber.

And she is to dedicate her mayoral year to speaking up for rural communities and raising awareness of the pressures facing farmers against a backdrop of unprecedented change.

Born and brought up in Oldham, Louise attended Bournemouth University, where she obtained a degree in business studies.

She trained as a computer programmer and, after a stint as an IT tester, took up a post as a business analyst at GEC Switchgear, before working as a business systems analyst at Express Gifts in Accrington for 12 years, where she helped to devise automated systems for order processing and warehousing.

Louise met her husband Phillip, a farmer, on a blind date in 1991 and they hit it off straight away.

Together they ran Phillip’s Fairfield Farm in Clayton-le-Dale and were at the forefront of the renaissance in local food.

They developed their Longsight Road farm into a thriving ‘field to plate’ farm shop and butchers, which was one of the original members of the multi-award-winning Ribble Valley Food Trail.

The site is now a thriving business park with 20 units, while Louise has developed the two-acre grounds at her nearby farmhouse into a wildlife haven and woodland.

As well as being a former magistrate, Louise was a trustee of the hugely successful Blackburn Women’s Centre, a model for women’s support services that was subsequently replicated at 12 centres across Lancashire.

A keen gardener and nature enthusiast, she is a former secretary and chairman of the North West Hardy Plant Society, and former trustee of the Mellor Brook Community Centre.

Louise joined Ribble Valley Borough Council as member for Clayton-le-Dale and Salesbury in 2019.

She and Phillip, who is her consort, have three daughters: statistician Rhiannon, geneticist Giselle and mathematician Bronwen.

Her chosen charities are the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, which provides mental health and wellbeing support, as well as financial, emotional and practical help, to farming people throughout the UK, and the North West Air Ambulance, which has been providing rapid medical interventions and flying paramedics to critically injured people, including agricultural and isolated workers, for 25 years.