Former Tamworth councillor recognised for his services with Honorary Alderman award

Former councillor John Faulkner

A committed and longstanding Tamworth Borough Councillor has been awarded the title of ‘Honorary Alderman’ as recognition for his services to Tamworth.

Former Labour councillor John Faulkner, who was first elected to the council on May 11, 1998, stepped down during this year’s local election due to retirement after serving the town’s people for an incredible 23 years.

During a full council meeting, which took place on Tuesday, July 20, council members showed their appreciation to John and his work by voting unanimously in favour of giving him the title of Honorary Alderman.

The title is conferred upon borough councillors who have made a positive difference to the town through their outstanding work.

Proposing the motion, Deputy Leader of Tamworth Borough Council Cllr Robert Pritchard, said: “23 years is a significant time to serve the borough and in that time, he’s served many positions on this authority, both in control and opposition. I have only really known him as his time in opposition, but many people talk about his work when he was in control.

“Personally, he’s long served as my opposite in the chamber and has also been the member I always prepared the most to face both for questions and debates and he always certainly kept me on my toes. So, as a mark of professional respect for that alone, I would like to move the council to confer the title of Honorary Alderman on John Faulkner.”

John joined the Labour Party in Glasgow, aged 18, in 1970 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1976. He has represented Mercian, Castle and Bolehall wards successively until he retired in May. John also served as Deputy Leader of the Council when Labour was in control and subsequently in Opposition as Deputy and then Leader of the Opposition until stepping down to be succeeded by Cllr Simon Peaple.

As Deputy Leader of the Council working with the then Leader, Peter Seekings, John was responsible for the Finance and Resources portfolio, and was able to align the Council’s finances to meet the priorities of the people of Tamworth, ensuring key improvements were properly funded.

At the time, the main concern of residents was community safety, and John’s Labour were able to expand the town’s CCTV system, recruit Street Wardens to work in liaison with youth services, schools and the police to ensure that young people were given opportunities for constructive activities particularly during school holidays, and that there was a regular and approachable presence in each of the town’s communities.

The Leader of the Opposition Cllr Simon Peaple seconded the nomination to confer the title of Honorary Alderman to John Faulkner, and added: “John has given great service to the Council and he has always stuck to his principles. It is a great shame that his late wife Pam is not with us tonight as she would have loved to hear the accolades being given to him. Pam and John shared their commitment and vision for the betterment of their fellow men and she would be so proud of him this evening.”

During John’s two decades at the council, putting the people of Tamworth first was his main priority and the theme of community and togetherness shaped his work.

Former Councillor Faulkner, said: “Communities are strongest when people work together for the benefit of their areas. Tamworth Borough Council has a key role to play to help provide the high quality of life to which Tamworthians aspire. It is the job of councillors to speak out clearly on behalf of the people they represent.

“It is not sufficient to simply oppose what the other party is doing. We must also look to the future to ensure that our children and grandchildren live in a clean, safe and prosperous town. We should therefore embrace modernisation and revitalisation to ensure that we have quality services and remain proud to call Tamworth our home.

“Tamworth has a proud past for which we may thank those who have gone before us, but we have a responsibility to make a future for which future generations may thank us.

“Of course, real improvements are not made by Councillors sitting in committees, but require effective delivery from those employed by the Council. Tamworth has always been fortunate to have a dedicated, professional and proficient team of officers.

“However, we must recognise that there were occasions when the Council was mean spirited and short sighted. I am reminded of the opposition to the provision of clean water supplies and underground sewers in Victorian times. I am not sure that they said ‘We must learn to live with Cholera’ but learning the history should educate us to the consequence of our actions, not act as a plan for the future.”