Veteran councillors are honoured by their former colleagues

Veteran councillors who have clocked up over a century of civic service for Cannock Chase have been honoured by their former colleagues – and tributes have also been paid to a fellow stalwart.

Cannock Chase Council chairman Martyn Buttery, centre, With Honorary Alderwomen Hyra Autton, Christine Martin, Muriel Davis and Honorary Alderman George Adamson
Cannock Chase Council chairman Martyn Buttery, centre, With Honorary Alderwomen Hyra Autton, Christine Martin, Muriel Davis and Honorary Alderman George Adamson

Five former members of Cannock Chase Council have been appointed Honorary Aldermen and Alderwomen in recognition of their eminent service to the authority as a past member. Four were presented with certificates at this month’s full council meeting – former leader George Adamson, Muriel Davis, Christine Martin and Hyra Sutton – but Frank Allen was unable to attend.

Council chairman Martyn Buttery, who presented the certificates, said: “This is a prestigious award, not only for length of service but dedication to the position as ward councillor. I think it is fair to say that each councillor is worthy of such an award – they were outstanding councillors and a credit to this authority.”

Mrs Davis attended the presentation just days after her husband and fellow former councillor Derek Davis passed away on July 11. Mr Davis was appointed an Honorary Alderman of Cannock Chase in 2018 in recognition of 22 years as a district councillor, across three terms between 1971 and 1998.

Staffordshire County Council bestowed a similar honour on him last year after he stood down from that authority after first being elected in 1985. Speaking in March 2021 he said: “I wouldn’t be leaving the county council except for my ill health.”

District and county council colleagues paid tribute to Mr Davies, who was awarded the OBE in 2010 for service to local government, by observing a minute’s silence at their full meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.

Tony Johnson, current Labour opposition group leader at Cannock Chase Council, said: “Derek was a titan on the county council and served the district well. He also served the county particularly well as chair of the Fire Authority.

“I knew Derek for 40 years and he was a good socialist. He will be really missed.”

Councillor Buttery said: “Derek took his role seriously on both authorities and dedicated a huge number of years to serving the council – and more importantly to residents. He did so with pride and passion and our thoughts are with his wife Muriel, family and friends at this sad time.”

County and district councillor Bryan Jones said: “Derek was a unique character. He was a massive Wolves supporter and had a love of horseracing – he loved telling me the story that he sat on a former Grand National winner.

He gave both Councillor (Phil) Hewitt and myself good advice. I for one will miss him.”

Councillor Charlotte Atkins said: “Derek devoted his life to public service – he served 50 years as a councillor and he loved his community. If he was a stick of rock he would have had Chadsmoor printed right the way through him and he loved arts, people and sport.

“Derek was particularly proud of his period on the Fire Authority and his contribution in terms of its development. He had a way with words and it is sad that his illness took away his ability to speak as he wanted to.

“Derek and Muriel were a very close and formidable couple and it’s sad that Derek died before seeing his wife Muriel becoming an Alderwoman. They created a Labour dynasty; their son Mark was both a Labour councillor and Parliamentary candidate.

“He had friends all over the chamber and I know that everyone will remember him with great affection. He was certainly someone who inspired people to enter into politics and I hope that his legacy will live on.”

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