High Sheriff of Derbyshire praises Buxton's volunteers at official reopening of Poole's Cavern

Derbyshire’s first High Sheriff to come from Buxton began her official duties by paying tribute to the volunteers who make such a huge contribution to the town.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 5:31 pm

Louise Potter marked the re-opening of Poole’s Cavern after the partial lifting of lockdown restrictions by praising the work of its owners, Buxton Civic Association (BCA).

The charity uses profits from the show cave to maintain and improve its 100 acres of woods which ring the town and have been a lifeline to many families during the pandemic.

“The amount of pleasure and solace their woods have brought to people last year shows how very lucky we are to have them,” said Louise, whose role as High Sheriff includes representing the Queen at official functions involving the country’s main institutions such as the police, the judiciary and local authorities.

Peter Phillipson (Chair of Board of Directors at Buxton Civic Association), Louise Potter, High Sheriff of Derbyshire, and Alan Walker (General Manager of Poole's Cavern)

“I was very proud to be nominated, and accepted because I want to raise the profile of Buxton and the north of the county.”

High Sheriffs also promote the work of volunteers in the community: “In Buxton alone we have an amazing number of organisations run by volunteers,” said Louise, who in 2002 won the UK Businesswoman of the Year award for her work in rescuing Buxton’s historic Old Hall Hotel from dilapidation.

“I used to let lots of voluntary organisations meet in the Old Hall because I was so impressed with the level of volunteering, and supporting the Opera House and Festival has been my main passion,” she said.

“The role of the Opera House and Festival are so important and the economic impact they have on the town is amazing.”

A life member of the BCA, Louise sees the organisation of a unifying force in the town: “I’ve always supported the responses they have made to High Peak Borough Council on initiatives such as the Future High Street project. The Civic Association always seems be the voice of reason and common sense.”

Louise went to school in Buxton and then on to High Peak College of Further Education, now Buxton and Leek College, which is part of the University of Derby.

“I wasn’t academic, so the fact that I could get a vocational education in Buxton was fantastic,” said Louise, who says her biggest achievement was being awarded an honorary degree from the University for her work.

Chairman of the BCA Peter Phillipson said at the re-opening: "We're proud to be the guardians of Poole's Cavern. As Buxton's most popular paid-for visitor attraction, it repays the town by bringing in much-needed income to support our work.

“And 50 per cent of our 70,000 visitors stay the night locally, supporting jobs in the accommodation sector, restaurants and cafes.

"But while the cavern was closed, we had to rely on our reserves, so although we are hopefully heading back to normal, I would appeal to members of the public to join the BCA in order to allow us to rebuild our financial strength."

To join the BCA, go to buxtoncivicassociation.org.uk/.

Buxton Civic Association also owns Grin Low Woods, home to the much-loved sculpture of Jack the lime worker. The Buxton Advertiser has joined forces with BCA to launch a campaign to raise the money needed for a female quarry worker statue to sit next to Jack. To make a donation to the campaign, see https://www.gofundme.com/f/female-quarry-worker-statue-campaign or to read more on the campaign, see Buxton Advertiser launches campaign for female quarry worker statue in Grin Low Woods.