New magistrates join the bench

TWO postal workers will be stamping down on crime when they take the bench at Calderdale Magistrates' Court.

Post Office counter worker Elizabeth Whyte, 49, of Mytholm, Hebden Bridge, and postwoman Anne Gilchrist, 50, of Huddersfield, are two of 13 new magistrates sworn in on Wednesday.

Lay magistrates (who do not have legal qualifications) deal mainly with minor criminal offences, such as drink-driving, minor assaults, and some family cases. They sit with one or two other lay magistrates.

Mrs Whyte has run King Cross Road Post Office with her husband Allan for two years. The couple used to run Lightcliffe Post Office.

"I have two sons and the youngest goes to high school next year so I kind of felt redundant.

"I am really looking forward to the training and getting started even though there is a lot to learn."

Miss Gilchrist is a postwoman in Huddersfield. "I have been interested in the law since I was a child. My mother was involved in the courts and she instilled in me a great sense of fairness," she said.

The new intake swore their allegiance to the Queen and pledged an oath to the office of magistrates before the chairman of the bench John Halliday in a ceremony at the court.

The new magistrates are:

Pamela Bassinder, 52, of Siddal, Halifax. She has three children and three grandchildren, and is a foster carer.

Anne Day, 47, of Burnley Road, Mytholmroyd, is a self-employed counsellor. She is married with three children.

Susan Greenwood, 50, of Rastrick Common, Brighouse, is a senior legal secretary for Harrison Bundey in Leeds. She is married with three children and a granddaughter, Charlotte, one.

Karen Jefferies, 51, of Shiben, Halifax, works for Action Halifax.

Glenys Kendall, 57, of Edgemoor, Elland, is a teacher at Calder High School, Mytholmroyd. The head of technology has two grown-up children and four grandchildren, aged between one and 14.

John Oldham, 48, of Todmorden, works as a housing and welfare officer for a homeless day centre in Rochdale. He is a former Todmorden town councillor.

Melanie Pearson, 36, of Halifax, is a full-time mum to Georgia, one and Errol, 12 weeks. She previously worked as a chartered accountant.

Marion Spruce, 54, of Halifax is a retired social worker. She is married with two children and two grandchildren.

Fiona Sunter, 42, is a freelance chiropodist. Mrs Sunter, of Mount Tabor is married with three children.

Peter Sutcliffe, 60, of Ripponden, retired as a company director in Manchester last year. He and his wife Margaret have two grown-up sons.

Robert Walker, 55, of Higher Ogden, is a driving instructor. He is married with two children.