MR JOHN TONKINSON  ~  INTERVIEW WITH THE EXPRESS & STAR  16/05/2019

WITH REGARD TO HIS LONG SERVICE AS A ROTARIAN

AND PARISH COUNCILLOR

 

IN WHICH HE ACKNOWLEDGES THE EFFORTS MADE

BY THE VOLUNTEERS INVOLVED WITH THE MANY

RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES WITHIN THE PARISH

 

Photo courtesy of Express & Star

photographer Tim Thursfield

 

SENTIMENTS EXPRESSED BY JOHN DURING THE INTERVIEW

 

As a Parish Councillor and Rotarian, I have been very fortunate to be involved in organisations,  made up of unpaid volunteers who give up their time and efforts for  the benefit of the local community. 

 

I have just celebrated fifty years as one of the co-founders of Sedgley and Wombourne Rotary Club along with my good friend, George Sanders.  I would like to thank George and the other Rotarians for their friendship and camaraderie whilst engaged in fund raising projects over the many years.  My first project as a Rotarian was to raise sufficient funds to purchase a lifeboat for the Flint branch of the RNLI.

 

I have just stepped down as Parish Councillor for Trysull and Seisdon Parish Council after 32 years of continuous service, six of those years as chairman.

 

I am humbled by this interview but grateful for the opportunity to pay tribute to the various groups of volunteers who run and operate a wide range of recreational facilities available within the parish.  These facilities are used not only by parishioners but also by folk from surrounding areas bringing together people young and old from a wide and diverse range of backgrounds.  These facilities include:-

 

§  The football and cricket clubs ~ Associations

§  Playing fields and Committee

§  Sports Pavilion and Committee

§  The children's play area

§  The Village Hall and its Committee serving a multitude of activities

§  The W. I.

§  All Saints Church ~ worshippers, supporters and volunteers

 

With regard to my service on the Parish Council, there were stressful times such as when the orbital route threatened to cut the villages in two but we all stuck together and pulled through.  In the main, however, service on the Parish Council has been a pleasure and a joy. Working with other Parish Councillors and supporters we have raised in excess of £134.000 and  have helped develop and enhance the recreational facilities I have already referred to.  Over these 32 years projects have included:-

§  Overseeing re-instatement of Seisdon Quarry

§  Increased playing field facilities

§  Children's play area

§  Computerisation of Parish Clerk's office for email communication with councillors

§  Initiating the setting up of the Parish Council website (now a legal requirement)

§  Digitally archiving Parish Council minutes from 1894 to date

§  Car park for use by Village Hall, Playing Fields and local school

§  Refurbishment of Sports Pavilion

§  Refurbishment of Village Hall

 

In the early days fund raising involved writing to local companies such as Beatties and Boots to ask for support.  Over time however, grants became available from various institutions and public bodies but  you had to fight hard to get a share of them.  Our all inclusive approach to make the recreational facilities available to people outside of the parish was a big factor in our favour.  I am proud to say that we raised the necessary funds when required without having to go back to ask for an increase in the Parish Council precept.

 

With regard to fund raising and my time on the Parish Council, I would like to thank other Parish Councillors past and present for their efforts, contributions and friendship.  In particular I would like to thank Brian Edwards MBE for his support over the years.  Thanks must be given to major contributors like Onyx and all other organisations and private individuals who have contributed towards fund raising activities.  I would also like to thank Victoria Wilson, District and County Councillor, for her encouragement and support during my last term as Parish Councillor.  I must also thank a good friend and Clerk to the Parish Council, Nagle Walton, for her steadfast help and support during my 32 years and not forgetting my long term secretary Jakie for her contribution and input to the various projects.  Finally, I am totally indebted to my wife Eve, my two daughters, Caroline and Ruth, and their families for their support and encouragement which kept me up and running over the many years.

John Tonkinson

 


John with his wife Eve

Being congratulated by

Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson CBE MP

Member of Parliament for South Staffordshire

and former Defence Secretary

                                                                         

          

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