Buckinghamshire Council- Hazlemere Ward
I think I must hold the record for being involved with Bucks Authorities for all my working/retired Bucks and WDC Council life, spanning around 60 years!
On leaving school in 1964 and obtaining 6 GCE’s I applied for a job in the Treasures Dept based in Aylesbury as an Accountancy Trainee (Maths was my best subject at school obtaining the top grade). On qualifying as a fully qualified Chartered Accountant (CIPFA) in 1973 I moved on to Wycombe District Council where I held several senior positions, including Chief Accountant, Head of Audit and Office Manager and I qualified as a Chartered Company Secretary. As being one of the senior managers and over the age of 55 yrs, out of the blue I was offered and accepted early retirement at the age of only 58.
I thought that was the end of my local government career! However, the Leader of Wycombe District Council at the time persuaded me to stand for Election in the Hazlemere Ward. I won the election and have been re-elected at every election since. Have I any regrets – No! I have enjoyed every minute and now that I am 74 years of age, I can look back on a Local Government career with pride.
My proudest moment during my time at Wycombe was when I was made an Honorary Burgess for my voluntary services to numerous Mayors of the town. An honour I hold dearly.
As you would expect Planning Applications are a big subject and takes up a great deal of time. There are always complications.
Being a keen sportsman, I played Cricket for BCC for around 25 years, scoring over 50 not out on my debut at 15 years of age as an opening batsman (and later became a Full member of the MCC). played Football for BCC for around 20 years as a goalkeeper.
I have been happily married to a wonderful wife (Chris) for over 50 years. I have 3 sons and 7 fantastic grandchildren.
I helped set up The Grange Area Trust (A large recreation ground/wood in my constituency of Hazlemere and was a former member of the Trust). Last year I stepped down for a much younger person to take my place.
I am well known in my constituency as “Big Ron”.
I have to say that Bucks CC & Wycombe and now as a Councillor have become a large part of my life for nearly 60 years. But I am looking forward to my retirement, at last to spend more time with my family. But I will miss so many colleagues, many of whom have become close friends.
Some of my unusual duties during my time: -
A carpark attendant for the Great Train Robbery trial in Aylesbury.
A postman around the County during the National Postal strike.
Setting up the Wycombe Council Lottery with Steve Redgrave (long before the National Lottery)
Assisting the police in court for 3 weeks when we had a major fraud within the council.
Visiting every OAP establishment in the county converting their Books/Accounts into decimal currency. I obtained the nickname “The Decimal king”.
At the last minute I was asked to Open the new Hazlemere Library as the County Councillor fell ill and could not perform the duty.
For several years I have been Chairman of the Wycombe Almshouses in a voluntary capacity in High Wycombe. A very satisfying duty in helping the less fortunate members of our town.
As you can gather, I will not be standing for re-election. But I will leave the council with fond memories on a working life well spent.
Over & Out.
Cllr Ron Gaffney