Meet the councillors!
Labour and Co-operative
Leader of the Labour Group and member of the audit committee
I retired as a full-time science teacher in 2004. I now work as a supply teacher
The weirdest thing happened to me today. I was digging a fence-post hole in the garden when our tabby cat Frank came up to me and started to make a big fuss of me. Normally, he ignores me, being much fonder of my wife. Anyway, I felt something moving in my trouser leg and thinking it was an insect, I shook my trouser leg and carried on working. A few seconds later, I felt something moving by my groin. It felt quite big and I feared I was about to be stung by a wasp. I ran behind the garden shed and dropped my pants releasing a startled mouse that ran off into the woods. Frank was less than impressed.
Favourite Thing: I love the sense of place. Foresters, both born and incomers like me have a real identity of belonging to somewhere special. When people ask me where I’m from, I always answer, “The Forest of Dean.” I never answer, “Gloucestershire.”
Me and my council work
I am one of the three district councillors for Lydbrook and Ruardean, Lydbrook parish councillor and I lead the Labour Group on the district council.
I have been a councillor for nineteen years (23 if you count the parish council). My greatest sense of achievement is when I can help an individual or a family with a problem.
The way our society is governed is complicated. In Gloucestershire, we have three layers of councils: parish, district and county. Added to that many vital services are provided by national government, the NHS and private companies, such as bus operators, the privatised utilities (water, gas and electricity).
Sometimes people with a real problem can be shunted from one agency to another with no one willing to provide the necessary assistance. As a councillor who understands how things operate, it is often possible to put an individual in touch with the person who can unlock and solve their issue. As a councillor sitting in on a meeting between a constituent and an official often takes the anger and heat out of the situation and leads to a solution.
As a politician, I enjoy the challenges of deciding priorities and designing services that meet the community’s needs at an affordable price. For the first twelve years of my time, my party was in control of the council. Now we are in opposition and we can only try to influence those who are making the decisions. As a politician, there is nothing to recommend in opposition.
My Typical Day
Emails, correspondence, phone calls, walk dog, work, pub, DIY, gardening, watch Gloucester Rugby, but not necessarily in the same order or all in the same day.
As I am now retired from full-time teaching, each day is different. Sometimes I get a call from a school and do some supply cover work – anything from an odd day to several weeks.
Every day involves some council work, answering emails, visiting constituents to talk about their issues or attending meetings.
Saturdays, I try to keep free for me and the family. I’m a devoted Shedhead and follow Gloucester Rugby both home and away.
In fact, tomorrow I’m off to France to watch Gloucester play Agen. Hey, being old and retired has its compensations!
What I'd do as "Youth Engagement Champion"
I would do as it says on the tin: I would actively engage with young people, I’d find out what they want and what they need and use my position as a councillor to champion their cause.
There is an awful tendency to pigeon-hole people. Young people are as diverse a group as any in society. What they do have in common is their youth, their lack of economic clout and the tendency for their potential and contribution to be condescendingly dismissed by older people.
As he youth engagement champion, I would try to meet and engage with young people on their own terms and in places that they feel comfortable, whether that be a youth café or cyberspace. I believe that society could do a much more for young people, but the pay-back is much greater. We ignore the contribution of young people at our peril.
After all, today’s young people, (including my grandchildren), will still be actively engaged with this community in fifty years time when today’s councillors will be long forgotten.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
idealistic, optimistic, compassionate
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, And Randy Newman (a brilliant American singer/songwriter and composer).
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Skiing, I just love snow covered mountains and sunshine.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To be fluent in another language, to be able to play a musical instrument to a high standard, to have the perseverance to learn these skills without having to wish for them
What did you want to be after you left school?
a civil-engineer, but I ended up as a science teacher. (I’m glad I did.)
Were you ever in trouble in at school?
Frequently; I had so many after school detentions on a Tuesday that I told my mum that I attended a school club.
What's the best thing you've done as a councillor?
When I was leader of the council, I was part of a the team that finally put together the funding package to build the Lydney swimming pool, that last major project in our leisure centre provision.
Tell us a joke.
Did you hear about the dyslexic agnostic insomniac? He lay awake all night wondering if there was a dog.
My profile link:
- Lots of young people want to make bmx tracks but they get destroyed by Forestry or the council. What will you do about
- What can you do to encourage more retail business into the forest? Having more good quality fashion shops would
- Hi what do you think young people in the community should e.g (clubs and activities) From John Wellington’s
- Are you going to bring the Youth Opportunity Fund back? If not what other mechanisms will you put into place to ensure
- With the major cuts how are you going to provide quality services for young people?
- how are you help learners with transport costs?
- would you be considered to hold parties for youth at local establishments?
- I used to frequently go swimming, Although it becomes expensive at £7.00 a week, is there anyway the five acres
- did you always want to be a conunciller
- I like going to Coleford Youth Centre, on mondays, and with youth centre, sports at Lakers hall on wednesday evenings,
- View all my answered questions