Businessman Luke Pollard is celebrating after placing Garstang firmly on the national map as a shopping destination.
The market town has been put in the spotlight after Luke was shortlisted for a national “High Street Hero” award.
The chairman of Independent Garstang Traders revealed the tribute is “totally unexpected” but said he is delighted at the accolade.
Judges shortlisted him in the 2018 Great British High Street Awards.
They were impressed with the range of his work, including his role successfully implementing the Love Garstang Loyalty Card Scheme, which rewards shoppers for supporting the local high street and its businesses.
During his time as Chairman membership of IGT (the local Chamber of Trade and Commerce) has doubled and its profile has been raised. Luke also designed and built a website for the town.
The father of three, who is proprietor of Printmob on Bridge Street, has key roles in delivering the town’s Victorian Christmas Festival and the Garstang Ice Cream Festival.
The Great British High Street Awards are sponsored by Visa, with the High Street Hero category being judged in association with the Daily Mirror.
With more than 240 contest nominations Luke made it into the final three in the English ‘High Street Hero’ section, where he is the only north west finalist.
The winner will be announced next month and Luke said: “I’m really chuffed to be honest. We had put Garstang forward for one of the awards because obviously we’ve done a lot over the past few years. Unfortunately we were not shortlisted but highly commended. But in that process I myself was shortlisted instead and quite surprisingly I’m one of three in England.”
The 38 year old stressed that the shortlisting is praise not just for him but for all who help with the High Street events: “There are a group of us who put a lot of work in. I’m not the only one. It’s an award for all of us - that’s for sure.”
A former pupil of Garstang High, Luke grew up near Dolphinholme and says the listing will help showcase the town.
He said: “That’s what it’s all about,trying to Garstang a bit more out there. It means we’re doing something right.”
This was also demonstrated when IGT won an award in the Wyre Business Awards last November and won Garstang Town Council’s Community Award earlier this year. He said: “This is the third one and this is the big one - it gives credibility to what we are doing.”
Luke stressed the retail challenge to get customers to visit high streets is ongoing and not unique to Garstang, but Garstang is not standing still.
He said: “We’ve got a two pronged approach - introducing Garstang to people further afield who might want to come for a day trip and enjoy what Garstang has to offer. But also for the local community, showing what Garstang has. We feel that people who live round the corner from Garstang don’t know what we’ve got. It’s making sure they are aware of what’s on their doorstep. There’s still lots to do.”