Kevin Horkin

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Kevin Horkin MBE is a Lancashire business owner, journalist, pet consultant, and T.V. presenter who has appeared on a number of animal-themed television programs in the United Kingdom. He unsuccessfully contested the Hyndburn Parliamentary Constituency on behalf of the Conservative Party in both the 2015 general election and the 2017 general election.


Horkin left school at 16 to start his own business: a stall in Accrington Market selling clothing and jewellery. He later opened "The Eye Shop" on Warner Street, in Accrington.[1][2] He challenged the opticians' monopoly on the sale of over-the-counter ready reading glasses by writing to all MPs asking Margaret Thatcher to repeal the Opticians Act of 1958, and in 1987, winning a case against the monopoly.[3][4] The General Optical Council took out simultaneous private prosecutions in an attempt to stop the sale of ready made reading spectacles.[5][6] Horkin successfully fought the actions by the General Optical Council.[7][8] He subsequently re-branded his business from "The Eye Shop" to "Spex Opticians," opening 22 branches across Lancashire, Greater Manchester & Merseyside.[9][10]

Horkin has been a contributor and pet consultant to TV programmes including the This Morning with Richard & Judy.[11]

Horkin’s two books are ‘Pets and personalities on Coronation Street’ and ‘Star Dogs: What Stars Think about their Pets'[12][13][14] He has also appeared as a Pet Expert in The Pet Set (2003) a 6 Programme Series exploring our relationship with pets & Animal Tales (2004).[15][16][17] Horkin also launched Pet Centric – opening 7 Pet Stores across East Lancashire.[18][19]

Horkin's Pet People column appeared in The Sunday People Newspaper from January 1995 onwards and included Letters from readers in a weekly Questions and Answers feature.[20] The column was renamed Pets And Their People in March 1998.[21] He has also been a regular columnist for the TV Times on its Animal page, ‘Mad about Dogs’ and Sainsbury's Pet Club Monthly Magazine in which he had a Pet features column.[22][23]

Horkin appeared in a film for television, in which he played himself as a TV Pet Expert, called Catwalk Dogs.[24][25]

Horkin is also Media Director of Our Dogs, a position he has held since 2000.[26]

Political career[edit]

Between 1987 and 1991, Horkin was elected as a councillor on Hyndburn Borough Council, rising to the role of Group Whip for the Conservative Group. He was elected as the Councillor for the Altham Ward obtaining 253 Votes or 40.1% of the Vote.[27] Horkin was also Joint Coordinator for the Hyndburn Constituency in 1987 for the re-election campaign for Ken Hargreaves MP.[28]

In 2010, Horkin stood for elected office in the neighbouring authority of Ribble Valley. He contested the St.Mary's Ward in May 2011 achieving 502 Votes or 47.27% of the vote.[29]

Horkin was elected to Clitheroe Town Council for the Clitheroe St. Mary's Ward receiving 499 Votes and beating incumbent Simon Entwistle by one vote.[30][31] Horkin was appointed Mayor of Clitheroe for the Civic Year 2013–2014. During his period in office, he launched the Clitheroe Community Fund.[32][33][34]

Horkin was selected on 15 January 2015 by local Conservative Party members as their prospective parliamentary candidate to contest the Hyndburn parliamentary seat.[35][36] He lost to Labour's Graham Jones by 4400 votes, a decrease of 2% in the Conservative vote compared to 2010. Horkin finished second taking 31.9% of the vote.[37]

Horkin was re-selected as the Conservative Party candidate for Hyndburn for the 2017 general election 10 days after the General Election Campaign began. Horkin increased the Conservative Vote in Hyndburn by 4,629 to 18,305 from 13,676 in 2015 an increase of 8.6%. [38] However Horkin finished second behind the Labour Party candidate Graham Jones who once again who increased his share of the vote by 6,045 from 42.1 to 53.4%. This was 1,405 Votes less than the 19,405 Votes achieved by Ken Hargreaves when he first won the seat in 1983 - only 1.7% less than the 42.2% he achieved [39]


Since 2009, Horkin has been a board member of the Development Advisory Group of the Community Foundation for Merseyside & Lancashire, a charitable trust which helps donors to support their community by channelling money into community projects.[40][41] Horkin has organised a number of Special Children's Christmas Parties for Disabled Children at Number 10 Downing Street including one hosted by Ant and Dec.[42][43][44] In 2014, Horkin received a Lifetime Legends of Industry Award from the Variety Club of Great Britain for his work with the Foundation.[45][46]

Horkin has been patron of 'The Kirsty Appeal' named after Kirsty Howard[47] helping to raise in excess of £5 million for an extension for Francis House Children's Hospice in Manchester.[48] As recognition of his philanthropic work he was Awarded Lancashire Community Philanthropist of the Year in 2011.[49]

In 1990 Horkin also founded the Pet Role Trust, a registered charitable trust promoting responsible pet ownership and devoted to improving animal health & welfare through charitable fund-raising - primarily for the Kennel Club Health Foundation and Manchester Dog's Home - the largest in the country. The Pet Role Trust also distributes cash to smaller, lesser known animal charities.

The Pet Role Trust was established against the background of the Public debate surrounding the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 introduced by the then Home Secretary, Kenneth Baker with the emphasis being on responsible public ownership rather than euthanasia. The controversial aspects of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 or the Baker Bill as it became known related to the intention to have American Pit Bull Terriers "humanely destroyed" in other words "put to sleep". Horkin launched a campaign of national publicity in the press and on Radio and TV organising a march on Parliament.He received over 12,000 Letters from the General Public and set up a 24 Hour Telephone Hotline to deal with calls from animal lovers concerned about the bill and who wanted to take part. The police said it was illegal to hold a march so Horkin organised a mass lobby of MPs instead. Horkin wrote to the Home Secretary, all MPs and the Chair of the Parliamentary Animal Welfare Committee in protest. 620 people took part. The meeting was attended by 40 MPs including Ken Hargreaves Horkin's local MP and 60 journalists. Within 24 hours of the mass lobby the euthanasia provisions of the bill were abandoned. [50][51]


Horkin was awarded "Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire" (MBE) in the 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours List, for Services to Charity and the Community of Clitheroe.[52]


  1. ^ Glasses Go on Sale For £6.50 in Daily Telegraph 4 July 1984
  2. ^ Eyeball to Eyeball: Opticians face new challenge from off-the-peg glasses in Daily Express 0 April 1985
  3. ^ Opticians see red over cheap 'specs' shop in Accrington Observer 1 April 1984
  4. ^ Shop keepers warned over cheap glasses in The Lancashire Telegraph 1 May 1984
  5. ^ Glasses man summoned in Manchester Evening News 18 August 1984
  6. ^ 'Spex' man facing second summons in Lancashire Evening Telegraph 16 August 1994
  7. ^ Joy at lifting of specs sales ban £5 slashed from pair of frames in The Clitheroe Advertiser 1 December 1984
  8. ^ The 'eyes' have it: Spectacles firm celebrates Commons vote in The Observer 16 December 1994
  9. ^ The Eyes Have It in Lancashire Live 10 July 2015
  10. ^ 'Specs appeal' pair to open two new shops in Accrington Observer 1 May 1985
  11. ^ Your dog could have his day in Manchester Evening News 30 June 1987
  12. ^ Kevin's purr-fact pets never fluff their lines in The Sunday People 1 January 1995
  13. ^ Kevin leads a dog's life on top TV soap! In Lancashire Evening Telegraph 7 December 1990
  14. ^ Animal Magic in Lancashire Evening Telegraph 18 May 1992
  15. ^ Soap fans mourn moggy in a million in Lancashire Telegraph 16 November 2000 Soap fans mourn moggy in a million
  16. ^ Oh, Mr Woo What can we do for you? In Lancashire Telegraph 20 September 2006 Oh, Mr Woo, What can we do for you?
  17. ^ Street Teddy woos em in Lancashire Telegraph 4 September 2002 Street Teddy Woos Em
  18. ^ Rag trade pooches in TV debut in Lancashire Telegraph 6 December 1996 Rag trade pooches in TV debut
  19. ^ The collar of money: Cat's £15,000 diamond treat in The Daily Mirror 3 October 1997
  20. ^ Pet People with Kevin Horkin: Cathy loves to sing Roxy music in The Sunday People 22 January 1995; Revealed! The girls who live with Cliff in The Sunday People 29 January 1995; The dogs who are right up Bill's Street in The Sunday People 15 January 1995; Danny falls in love with a China doll in The Sunday People 5 February 1995; The heeled who saved my life, by randy Reg in The Sunday People 8 January 1995; Equalizer? He's just a big softie! in The Sunday People 12 February 1995
  21. ^ Pets And Their People: Corrie's Rovers Return in The Sunday People 8 March 1998
  22. ^ Mad About Dogs Magazine Hobnobbing with Horkin September 1997, October 1997, November 1997, December 1997, January 1998, February 1998, March 1998, April 1998, May 1998, June 1998, July 1998, October 1998, November 1998, December 1998, January 1999, February 1999, March 1999, April 1999
  23. ^ Sainsbury's Pet Club Magazine Pet Centric Column March 1997, April 1997, May 1997, June 1997, July 1997, August 1997, September 1997, October 1997, November 1997, December 1997, February 1998, March 1998, April 1998, May 1998, June 1998, July 1998, August 1998, September 1998, October 1998
  24. ^ Catwalk Dogs on Memorable TV Catwalk Dogs
  25. ^ Kevin gets small-screen break in catwalk drama in Lancashire Telegraph 25th October2007 Kevin gets small screen break in catwalk drama
  26. ^ Endal on top of the world in Pet Planet 21 February 2002 Pet Planet
  27. ^ Hyndburn Borough Council Election Results 1973–2012 from Plymouth University Local Elections Centre Hyndburn Borough Council Election Results 1987
  28. ^ Jobs are a key issue in Accrington Observer 4 June 1987
  29. ^ Borough Council Election Results 5 May 2011 Ribble Valley Borough Council[
  30. ^ Parish Council Election Results 5 May 2011 Ribble Valley Borough Council Parish Council Election Results 2011 Ribble Valley
  31. ^ New Clitheroe mayor sworn in after election drama in This Is Lancashire 11 May 201 New Clitheroe Mayor sworn in after Election drama 1
  32. ^ Clitheroe Community Fund launched by Mayor Kevin Horkinin Lancashire Life 16 May 2013 Clitheroe Community Fund launched
  33. ^ Good causes benefit from Clitheroe Mayors' fund in The Clitheroe Advertiser 28 November 2014 Good causes benefit from Clitheroe Mayors Fund
  34. ^ Clitheroe Mayors Fund given to good causes in Lancashire Telegraph 25 June 2014 Clitheroe Mayors Fund Given to Good Causes
  35. ^ Accrington trader to lead Conservative bid for HyndburnHyndburn Seat in Accrington Observer 2 February 2015 Accrington Trader to lead Conservative bid
  36. ^ Multi-millionaire businessman Kevin Horkin to lead Conservatives in fight for Hyndburn power in Lancashire Telegraph 15 January 2015 Multi-millionaire businessman to lead Conservatives
  37. ^ GENERAL ELECTION 2015: UKIP wild card may sway Hyndburn vote in Lancashire Telegraph 01st May2015 UKIP Wild Card may sway Hyndburn
  38. ^ Hyndburn 2017 Election in Elections Online -Parliament U.K.
  39. ^ Results of the 2017 Election on BBC News WebSite
  40. ^ Lancashire stages a takeover of 11 Downing Street in Lancashire Life 4 December 2014 Lancashire stages a takeover of 11 Downing Street
  41. ^ Lancashire's movers and shakers at 10 Downing Street in Lancashire Life 19 March 2013 Lancashire's movers and shakers at 10 Downing Street
  42. ^ Community Foundation for Merseyside co-hosts VIP reception event at 10 Downing Street in Southport Visitor 4 February 2013 Community Foundation for Merseyside co-hosts VIP Reception
  43. ^ Businessman throws a Premier Christmas do in Lancashire Evening Post 31 December 2012 Businessman throws a Premier Christmas do
  44. ^ Clitheroe man draws 'Coronation Street' stars to Downing Street charity bash in The Clitheroe Advertise 19 May 2011 Clitheroe Man draws Coronation Street Stars to Charity bash
  45. ^ Legends of Industry Awards 2014 Variety Club of Great Britain 4 December 2014 Legends of Industry Awards 2014
  46. ^ Skipton store owner gets charity fundraising award from Variety in Craven Herald & Pioneer 11 December 2014 Skipton store owner gets charity fundraising award
  47. ^ Kirsty's special birthday surprise in the Clitheroe Advertiser 3 October 2011 Kirsty's Special Birthday Surprise
  48. ^ Trader's tribute to fundraiser Kirsty Howard following her death aged 20 in Accrington Observer 26 October 2015 Traders Tribute to Fundraiser Kirsty
  49. ^ Ribble Valley business man is Philanthorpist of Year in The Clitheroe Advertise 14 November 2011 Ribble Valley Businessman is Philanthropist of the Year
  50. ^ Cashpoint pooch tipped for a Golden Bone in doggy Oscars in the Independent 25 February 2001 Cashpoint pooch tipped for Golden Bone
  51. ^ Cherie backs £1M Appeal in Lancashire Telegraph 5 May 2006 Cherie backs £1M Appeal
  52. ^ Lancashire community heroes named in the Queen’s Honours List in Lancashire Evening Post 16 June 2017 [1]