In terms of the budget council meeting that took place on Wednesday, the bulk of the proceedings are considered in part 1, but this meeting was also the final full council meeting of the current four-year council term.
The reason for part two is to highlight three members of the current council who will not be submitting themselves to the council for hopeful reelections like myself as they’ve announced they are retiring from the council, meaning that last nights meeting was there final full council meeting.
First up was Councillor John Pritchard, an independent councillor who has represented Whaley Bridge since 1969, and has during his many years of service chaired various committees including a long stint as chair of the audit and regulatory committee, been mayor of the borough, and has also spent time as an executive member.
Cllr Pritchard also had warm words to say in his ‘thank you’ comments about our former councillors Richard Cooke and John Francis.
In terms of the Labour Group, we have two current councillors who are retiring and to give them the respect they deserve, I’m going to print the comments I made at the High Peak Labour Christmas social where we made presentations to both to mark their forthcoming retirements.
First up is Tintwistle Councillor Pat Jenner how we hope will be replaced the excellent community activist Rob Baker, you can read more about Rob by clicking here.
Here’s what I said about Pat:
Just about anyone in the village of Tintwistle will know Pat Jenner even though he’s not a native to Tintwistle coming instead from the nearby town of Ashton Under Lyne.
Pat’s work was in the textile trade, and that’s what led him to Tintwistle many a moon ago. Pat was heavily involved in his trade union the GMB rising to become the regional organiser in Oldham.
In 1979 Pat volunteered to help with the youth service at the village youth club, and in that way that no good deed goes unpunished Pat went on to qualify as a youth worker four years later and in time becoming the worker in charge not just at Tintwistle but also at Hadfield, Whitfield and Gamesley youth clubs.
Pat not only took on the task of guiding youth work across Glossopdale but also helped out elsewhere across the High Peak including at Chapel.
In 2005 Pat retired from the youth service, but still kept his hand in volunteering at the Tintwistle Youth Club until 2010 when he was presented with a glass plaque from the Tintwistle Gala Committee for all his hard work, the Gala Committee been another cause that Pat has had a long involvement with.
Pat also received a Derbyshire Excellence in the community award the same year.
Although he tried without success in 1987, at an age when many are stepping back from things Pat stepped forward and was successfully elected as the Councillor for Tintwistle in 2011.
Despite being a relative newcomer to the borough, Pat brought with him at the time almost 30 years of experience as a parish councillor on Tintwistle Parish Council and took on the role of Deputy Mayor of the High Peak, becoming Mayor the following year.
Pat’s mayoral year was also the Queen’s jubilee year, which saw Pat take part in a range of special events including one of my best memories with Pat when as Mayor he attended a street party on Gamesley.
The street party was attended by hundreds of people many of whom were really pleased to see Pat as Mayor with many of them reminiscing of his time at the youth club, greatful in quite a few cases for his advice putting them back on the straight and in others his example helping them to become the people they are now involved in their communities.
Pat has served on a variety of committees during his time on the council including licensing and development control and has done his part of reshaping the skyline supporting the efforts by the football club and other to develop facilities there along with the efforts of Rob and others who we hope will take over from him on Conduit Street Park.
The last few years have been hard for Pat with family illness, but when he does have free time you can still find him on the allotment, or spending time with the grandchildren or failing that maybe listening to some rock and roll or playing dominoes.
Despite all of his good qualities, there is, unfortunately, one bad affliction that he shares (or suffers) with many past and present Hadfield / Gamesley councillors in that he’s a lifelong Manchester City fan, but alas no ones perfect!
Last but by no means the least is Godfrey Claff who we hope will be replaced by the excellent Rachel Abbots who you can read more about by click here.
I first properly met Godfrey around 1997, when as an enthusiastic young member, I started attending meetings of the High Peak Labour Group as an observer, but Godfrey’s involvement in our community and party go much further back than that.
After over 40 years living Godfrey is almost a local Glossopian, but like many in Glossop come from strong Manchester roots and in the case of Godfrey a commitment to trying to put things right with a lifetime working in community development.
In Salford, in the early ’70s, Godfrey served as secretary to Salford Council for Voluntary Services, before going on to been involved in the founding of the Manchester Alliance for Community Care, a body which became the community infrastructure organisation for Manchester, a successor to CVS of which he was also for a time the General Secretary.
In Glossop, he was a founding member of Glossop Women’s Aid and its first secretary, a board member of the volunteer bureau for 20 years including 12 years as chair, something that must be in the waters of the Howard Town Ward with his current ward colleague Damien been a worker there as one of the Managers. A former school governor and vice chair of Glossopdale Community Community College (and chair of the Glossop school before that). Godfrey has also been vice chair of the High Peak CAB.
In 1999 Godfrey stood (in my view with some of our best ever new candidates) and was elected in Glossop, alas at that point it was not to be, and due to work clashes, he was unable to complete the terms of office.
But not put off he then worked as a consultant to governments in central and eastern Europe advising them on the management and development of there services.
In 2011, Godfrey was once again elected as a local councillor, going on to become an integral member of the executive during our minority administration between 2011 to 2015.
Godfrey covered the regeneration brief steering through work on a whole host of areas from the local plan, to the pav gardens to completing the hopes of Glossop Labour councillors from across the years in setting in chain the events that would see the skyline of Glossopdale dramatically changed with the removal of the Ferro Alloys Chimmy.
Godfrey has also served on many outside bodies such as the Peak Park and Police and Crime Panel.
Godfrey has even involved his hobbies in his work, using his running at the time for Salford Harriers to establish the Glossop 5 race in aid of the Glossop Women’s Aid.
On hearing of Godfrey decision to not restand, there was a consensus that you will be a great loss to the group with your wisdom, experience and calm knowledge and demeanour in whatever the circumstances.
Although I know in retirement from your role as a councillor, you still won’t escape that public service ethos with your role as chair of the Glossopdale Foodbank, and support for various other projects.
With Margaret, the 4 kids and grandchildren your time will not be quiet, and unlike our other retiree you’ll may also find time to spend on the right side of Manchester at the Theatre of Dreams (although their performance will need to improve) and who knows – maybe even a tune on the piano.