Man described as 'Corby's fourth emergency service' honoured for 25 years of community work

A plaque to commend the work of Cllr Mark Pengelly has been unveiled at Stephenson Way Community Centre

Monday, 24th May 2021, 9:16 am
A ceremony was held on Saturday at Stevie Way Community Centre

People living on Corby's East Lloyds estate have unveiled a plaque as a thank you to Councillor Mark Pengelly who has dedicated a quarter of a century to making his community a better place to live.

Cllr Pengelly, who was a borough councillor before Corby Borough Council was scrapped earlier this month, was described as 'Corby's fourth emergecy service' as the plaque at Stephenson Way Community Centre was dedicated to him on Saturday (May 22).

Although he is paid only a limited allowance for being an elected member, Cllr Pengelly has been on call at all hours including Christmas and Easter for the people in his ward since he was first elected to the borough's East ward in 1995.

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Mayor Lawrence Ferguson with Cllr Mark Pengelly

In order to mark the huge difference Cllr Pengelly was made to the area, his friend and former councillor Dennis Taylor organised a ceremony along with members of the estate's residents assocation. It was attended by local people as well as leader of Corby Council Jean Addison, Mayor Lawrence Ferguson, and other North Northamptonshire and Corby Town Council elected members including Cllrs Lyn Buckingham, Ross Armour, Matt Keane, Anthony Dady, William Colquhoun, Ray Beeby and Peter McEwan.

Cllr Pengelly, a taxi driver and salesman by trade, was again elected to the Lloyds ward in the new North Northamptonshire Council earlier this month with the highest vote tally of any candidate in the town - 2,338. He is also a member of the new town council, organises the annual Highland Gathering along with a team of local people and even dressed up as Father Christmas during this year's Covid Christmas to make sure children did not miss out on seeing Santa.

He said: "I absolutely love this area. My grandad was born here in the early 30s and they lived in Whitworth Avenue. My dad (Nelson Pengelly) moved out to Stephenson Way and we used to play in the tin hut on the park. When me and Joyce got married we bought our own house on Stephenson Way for £4,000 and we've been there ever since.

"We ended up getting involved in the community and when they wanted to build housing and a community centre on the park we said we weren't having it and now here we are all these years later and they're trying to do it again. Once again we'll say this is wrong, we don't want it here.

Local councillors as well as residents gathered to congratulate Cllr Pengelly

"Being a councillor here in Corby has been absolutely brilliant. If you remember that YouTube video, Corby, Welcome to Hell, and look where we are now. We have a new town centre, the Cube, the pool. What a transformation.

"All the councillors are now coming over here from East Northants and Wellingborough and Kettering and they can't believe it. When people see our town they fall in love with it."

Thanking his wife and daughter, Mark said that even when he's on holiday, his supportive family gives him an hour a day to continue with his council work.

"I was on holiday in Las Vegas to watch the Ricky Hatton fight and we went for a trip to see some of the area and this woman was looking at me and she just shouts 'Pengelly, I've been waiting for you to sort out my kitchen.'

Mark with his daughter Rachael, wife Joyce and stepmum Myra. His father Nelson was not well enough to attend.

"And about ten years ago I was taken to hospital from work after I had a heart issue. I was crying my eyes out and they were wheeling me along on a trolley and this woman comes up to me and said 'why have you not sorted out my housing problem?' I said 'I'm about to die here!'

"But I did eventually get back to both of them."

Organiser Dennis Taylor said that since the East Lloyds Tenants and Residents Association was formed in 2014, Cllr Pengelly had not missed a single meeting.

"Mark and me started as councillors together 26 years ago. It wasn't until I started the campaign to get the plaque that I realised how popular Mark is. The appeal only lasted an hour before we had enough to pay for it.

The plaque paid for by local people

"Me and Mark were involved in the regeneration of the council houses on the estate. None of them had had a new kitchen or bathroom for years and years. Every council house got a new kitchen and bathroom.

"Mark has managed to get £70,000 spent on the park.

"Mark isn't just a councillor to a lot of people, he's the fourth emergency service. There's the fire brigade, the police, the ambulance and then there's Mark Pengelly."

Mayor Lawrence Ferguson said: "I've known Mark about 12 years. He mentored me when I was first a borough councillor and he still does now. It's amazing to think he was on the council when my grandad (John Wood-Cowling) on the council.

"It's difficult to become a well-known councillor these days as the likes of Jimmy Kane were, but Mark's known by everyone in the whole town."

Dennis Taylor and Cllr Pengelly (centre) along with members of the East Lloyds Tenants and Residents Association.
Mayor Lawrence Ferguson presents a cake to Cllr Pengelly