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Former Penkridge Parish Council chairman who is bowing out after 20 years talks life, politics and Penkridge

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: April 08, 2014

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WHERE WERE YOU BORN? I was born in 1939 in Coventry to a Scottish father and English mother but spent quite a lot of my early years in Scotland. I have always considered myself Scottish. As my dad told me: "If a pig is born in a stable it doesn't make it a horse." CHILDHOOD MEMORIES: I have few memories of my early childhood although air raid sirens give me the shivers even now. I remember one day when lots of planes were flying past. It was D-day I was told later. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB? My first paid jobs were all vacation jobs; delivering bread and delivering the Xmas post etc. WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU LEFT SCHOOL? I thought I would be a teacher. Totally wrong. After university where I read history I got a job as a trainee industrial engineer, got a qualification and never regretted the switch. Being involved in making things was the best job ever. Among many things I was involved in taking optical fibres from the laboratory and setting up proper manufacturing and was responsible for some of the first optical fibre telecommunication cables, including some that went into TAT8 the first transatlantic undersea optical cable. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GET INVOLVED WITH PENKRIDGE PARISH COUNCIL? I have been a member of the Labour Party all my adult life and have also done, and still do, a lot of voluntary work. I thought maybe I could bring those elements to the Parish Council and make a contribution, though I soon learned there is not much room for politics at parish level. Being a councillor keeps you busy and you do have to use your brain as well as work with others whose views may not always chime with yours. I have always sought co-operation rather than conflict. WHAT WAS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT ON THE COUNCIL? I don't know that I have a particular proudest moment but contributing to the establishment of our Civic Burial Group was very satisfying. Although buying the Haling Dene centre was well before my time I think that with that one exception, projects have got more ambitious. There has also been a switch to trying to get more interaction with the community including setting up the parish web site. DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS? I have a few but far too few to mention. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS NOW? At 74 my plans for the future include staying as fit and active as possible, enjoying plenty of holidays with my wife and time with the rest of my family. Also carrying on as long as possible with my voluntary work. I am a charity trustee, a volunteer with a canal boat charity (Diana and I had our own boat for 20 years), a business mentor for the Prince's Trust and a member of the Independent Monitoring Board at Featherstone prison.

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