Mike Hannon

Former Mayor and councillor, Mike Hannon, has received the prestigious award of Honorary Freeman of Warrington, for almost 40 years of eminent services to the borough.

Mike received the honour at an extraordinary meeting of the council on Monday 4 April, following a proposal put forward by Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden.

Born and raised in Warrington, Mike attended Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School. Then, after finishing his education, he ran a business in the town.

He was first elected to the Council on 5 May 1983, serving until 6 May 2021 – a period of 38 years. This made Mike one of the longest-serving councillors on Warrington Borough Council at the time of his retirement.

During his time as a councillor, Mike represented the area of Orford and was involved in numerous activities within the community, including playing a pivotal role in the establishment of the Orford Jubilee Hub from its inception to its opening by Her Majesty the Queen in 2012. To acknowledge this work, The Mike Hannon Community Room was established at the hub.

Mike – as a serving councillor at the time – was heavily involved in the response to the Warrington Bombings which took place in March 1993. Mike played a crucial role in the positive and sustained response from the town, with new and existing groups formed under the umbrella organisation Warrington Ireland Reconciliation Enterprise (W.I.R.E), with the aim of creating relationships of peace and understanding through education, religion, culture sport and song.

During the 1994/95 Civic Year, Mike Hannon served as the Mayor of Warrington. He took this opportunity as the civic head of the borough to foster long-lasting relationships focused on peace and reconciliation with organisations across Ireland, in particular Crewe United and Lisburn Council (now Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council). Over the years, numerous visits have taken place between councillors and community representatives from Warrington and Lisburn on a regular basis, including at the 25th anniversary of the bombings in March 2018.

Mike served as Deputy Leader of the Council from 2011 to 2016. During this time, he was responsible for the town centre, retail economy, corporate property and the Staff Joint Consultative Committee, where he passionately supported council staff to enable them to carry out their duties for the town.

As a patron of Warrington Disability Partnership, Mike used his extensive knowledge and experience of community networking to benefit the partnership in their mission of developing and delivering mobility and independent living services across Warrington.

Mike’s other achievements as a councillor include his contribution to the development of a new home for Warrington Wolves at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, the creation of the Pyramid Arts Centre and the establishment of the Cultural Quarter.

While a councillor, Mike was also joined on the council by his wife, Kate Hannon, and daughter, Kerri-Louise Morris, who all served as councillors for the Orford Ward, with a combined service of 64 years representing their local community on the council.

In November 2016, Mike was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Warrington Guardian Inspiration Awards in recognition of his work in the community over a period of 30-plus years.

Mayor of Warrington, Cllr Maureen Creaghan, said: “Mike’s lifetime of service to Warrington is truly remarkable. Such dedication over so many years is rare, and we have been very fortunate to have such a wonderful, inspirational person serving our borough.

“Everything Mike has done over the past 40 years has been driven by his love for the town in which he was born and bred, and his absolute commitment to improving life for local people. He can be proud that his many achievements – as Mayor, as councillor and as community leader – have helped to make Warrington a better place. To be made an Honorary Freeman of Warrington is a fitting way to recognise the huge contribution he has made to our town.”

Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Mike has received this well-deserved honour. It is difficult to overstate the invaluable contribution he has made to Warrington.

“His passion, commitment and dedication has helped shape our town into the thriving, successful place it is today. From the regeneration of our town centre, to the development of our cultural and leisure offer, his efforts have been vital in bringing renewed confidence to Warrington.

“Mike’s work in the aftermath of the Warrington Bombings in 1993 will never be forgotten. In the most tragic and difficult of circumstances, he helped lead our town’s response with dignity and bravery, playing an important part in the peace process that followed. His role in forming relationships of reconciliation between Warrington and Lisburn, which endures to this day, is a wonderful legacy for Mike to look back on, and one we are all proud of.”

16 August 2023