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In Full . . .

THE VILLAGE VIEW

Posted on February 29 2016 at 2:32:12

This magazine doesn’t carry obituaries because we simply don’t have the space to do everyone justice. But we feel we should bend the rules and devote this column to an appreciation of the work Roger Hollingworth carried out for this community.

As leader of Bromsgrove District Council for more than nine years, he made a tremendous difference to the lives of many people.

Without Roger’s efforts the council could have been dissolved and we’d have seen our local services run by faceless bureacrats in Whitehall.

His success is probably already forgotten by many, but few people would have had the energy, drive and ability to pull it off to the extent that Bromsgrove Council today is a functioning authority, albeit one now seeing its resources being leached by Government.

Roger’s methods did not always win him friends, but he had a remarkable ability to allow criticism to wash off almost unnoticed. We never heard him complain about what people said about him; he would only be concerned to be doing the right thing.

And he did always want to be “doing”. After his retirement from industry, he made a foray into farming in Rowney Green, with the words “How hard can it be?”

Mourners at Roger’s funeral service heard how his efforts were viewed with amusement by local farmers.

Then, spurred by the words of his wife to “do something about it rather than just complaining”, Roger became an Alvechurch parish councillor in 1997 at about the time we started attending meetings ready for the launch of The Village magazine the following year.

By then he was chairman and was a great support to this fledgling magazine – although we frequently had to wield our editor’s pencil over his Parish News contributions to keep us all out of the libel courtroom!

Not surprisingly, he found he was “banging his head against a wall” trying to get anything done at parish level and quit in 2002, to reappear the following year as a district councillor wearing a blue rosette.

Within two years he was leading the district council and dragging it back from the precipice of dissolution.

He also worked hard for the people of his Alvechurch ward, where perhaps his greatest achievement was in helping to get The Lounge youth centre off the ground – a project to which he continued to devote his time and energy after standing down as a councillor at the elections last May and one which will miss him greatly.

Apart from the shock at his unexpected death, the biggest surprise of the past few weeks was to learn that Roger, a son of Oldham and as at home sharing a pint at Alvechurch Social Club as in the corridors of power at Westminster, spurned the chance to read Pure Maths at New College, Oxford – choosing instead to study politics and economics at Birmingham.

We wonder what insights may have been lost to mathematics, but we have no doubt that Roger’s decision was to the benefit of the real world in the Midlands.


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