Magistrates bid farewell

Frank Shipway (centre) presents certificates to retiring magistrates David Jesson and Christine Fitton
Frank Shipway (centre) presents certificates to retiring magistrates David Jesson and Christine Fitton

Two of the Fylde coast’s longest-serving magistrates – one of them a former chairman of the Bench – have retired.

David Jesson and Christine Fitton have retired together at the age of 70. Mr Jesson is Blackpool-born and his father had a grocer’s shop in the resort. He attended Revoe School before moving to Baines School, Poulton.

The bench is a little poorer with the loss of them

When he left school he joined the GPO – now British Telecom – and became responsible for fitting out exchanges. He was closely involved in the emergency measures required for communications after the Manchester IRA bombing in 1992.

He is currently chairman of the governors at Baines and is a past secretary of the former pupils’ association. He was appointed a JP in 1989 and served in Wyre before it merged with the Fylde bench.

He was a member of the Youth Panel and played a leading role in sentencing review where defendants’ progress against drug and alcohol issues is examined.

He held the post of Bench chairman for three years.

Christine Fitton came to Blackpool from Rochdale in 1953. Her family became prominently involved in a local ice cream firm. She worked at Lewis’s store before moving to Blackpool Pleasure Beach as head of the payroll department.

She then became personnel manager at the Pleasure Beach. She is well known in the world of Scouting with which she has been involved for 50 years. For 40 of those she has been involved in the annual Gang Show and is a former District Commissioner.

She was honoured with the award of the Silver Fox the highest award in Scouting. She received the British Empire Medal in 2014. She was appointed to the Bench in 1988 and has worked in the criminal and family courts.

Current Bench chairman Frank Shipway said: “The Fylde bench and the community it serves are a little poorer with the loss of these two highly-experienced and much-respected magistrates. Christine has played a leading role in the town and was rightly honoured by the Queen last year. “As Bench Chairman, David has assisted and guided the Bench through a period of significant and sustained change. His experience and expertise means we have weathered those changes.”