Active Lancashire announces new chair of the board

Active Lancashire, the strategic lead for sport and physical activity in the county, has today announced the appointment of Brian Cookson OBE as chair of the board.

Brian brings a wealth of experience within sport to the role, most notably in the world of cycling where he held the position of President for the British Cycling Federation and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the global governing body for cycling.

Brian was awarded an OBE for services to cycling in 2008 and played a key role in improving the perception and integrity of the sport during the last decade, whilst developing opportunities for previously-neglected areas within the sport such as women’s cycling and cycling in developing nations.

Following two years a board member, Brian takes up the new role with Active Lancashire at a pivotal moment in the organisation’s 20-year history, ahead of the launch of a new 10-year strategy that will drive the organisation forward and expand its growing responsibility in health, the local economy and physical activity in Lancashire.

On the appointment, Brian states: “I am very pleased to have been appointed as the next Chair of the Board at Active Lancashire. To be able to contribute to such a dynamic organisation that improves the quality of life for people in my home county is a wonderful opportunity indeed. I am looking forward to working with board members, our driven and talented staff and our huge network of volunteers and partner organisations to take this vital work forward in the coming years.”

Preston-born Brian was educated in Lancashire and later qualified as a Landscape Architect at Manchester Polytechnic. An illustrious career followed, holding senior positions at Manchester City Council, Derbyshire Council, Sefton Council and Pendle Borough Council, as well as the Central Southport Partnership and the charity Groundwork, based in Blackburn. Throughout his career, alongside his passionate involvement within cycling, Brian specialised in large-scale regeneration that enabled communities to thrive as a result of innovative housing programmes, conservation projects, community renewal programmes and economic development.

Adrian Leather, chief executive at Active Lancashire, adds: “I am delighted that Brian has stepped forward to become our new board chair. Brian’s personal commitment to grassroots sport and active lifestyles, combined with his experience in leading sport at an international level and his professional experience of leading regeneration in deprived communities gives me huge optimism for an exciting and challenging next chapter of Active Lancashire’s work, under Brian’s leadership.”

Brian succeeded Lesley Lloyd as board chair on the 30th September 2021 as she departs the role at the end of her term in office.

Lesley reflects: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Adrian and his talented and dedicated team, to build Active Lancashire into the professional, fast-growing organisation it is today. It has been a very busy and productive four years and I would like to thank all involved for helping us to make such a positive difference to the lives of people across the county during this period. With a new strategy in place and Brian at the helm, I know Active Lancashire and the people who benefit from the services it provides, will go from strength to strength.”

On behalf of everyone at Active Lancashire, we thank Lesley for her inspiring leadership over the last four years and look forward to working with Brian in the next phase of Active Lancashire’s growth.