In February, Doug Hodkinson was co-opted onto Geddington Parish Council. In a conversation with geddington.net, Doug explained his reasons why he came forward and at the same time he gave a very full explanation of his experience.
“Last November I arrived in Geddington, but I was also returning to Northamptonshire after practically 38 years away. My late wife and I began our married life in Wootton, Northampton in 1969, just after I had got a job with the County Planning Department. Initially it involved working on future development policies for Kettering and nearby towns along the A6 – back in the days when the A14 was no more than a bright idea in a recently published government Green Paper! My career then took me on to Coventry Council and to a new home over the boundary in Warwickshire.
I have been a regular visitor to Geddington since my daughter and her family moved here from Northampton in 2006. Last year she and I decided we were tired of living so far apart, while I felt it was time to downscale from the old family home and to live just round the corner from them. I finally achieved this in late-November, after much effort.
Some weeks later, I read Mark Rowley’s column in the current edition of The Newsletter and volunteered to join the Parish Council, if no established resident would be kept out as a result. None were.
So what experience do I bring to the Council? 3 years ago I completed 28 years on the Parish Council in my previous village, including six terms as Chairman. Separately, I had served much briefer periods on both the Borough and County Councils. I have been a School Governor for nearly 20 years. Before retirement a decade or so ago, I had spent 36 years in local government as a Town Planner – in England and briefly in the USA.
Retiring from my previous Parish Council did not exactly take me out of village life. Instead I was immediately drafted in as principal author of their first Village Design Statement, which I managed to finish literally days before moving house. You can find it by looking up www.binleywoods.org and clicking on Binley Woods VDS.pdf or Binley Woods Parish Plan v1 0.pdf .
I have reached the stage in life where I am rather more the ‘elder statesman’ than the ‘young Turk’, so my aim is to offer support to my colleagues, drawing on my past experience. I can enjoy a good theoretical argument if that is what will best help business along, but what I really like doing is finding projects to make the lives of people in the community more satisfactory, where this necessarily depends on collective action and Parish Council initiative – like the 12 enjoyable years I spent sorting out, through consultation, improvements to my previous village’s street lighting provision. This explains why the Chairman promptly suggested I start by taking on the vacant job of leading on street lighting issues within the Parish Council!”
We congratulate Doug on his co-option and feel sure he will be a positive addition to our Parish Council.