Our Man in West­min­ster

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View - By Damian Green

This week I can only add to the many trib­utes be­ing paid to Coun­cil­lor Harold Apps, who died last week af­ter more than 50 years of public ser­vice. He was truly an in­spi­ra­tion to any­one who thinks that be­com­ing in­volved in lo­cal pol­i­tics is worth­while.

Even more im­por­tantly, he was a good and loyal friend. As well as his many du­ties over the years with Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil, Harold was the man who greeted and or­gan­ised peo­ple at my Ad­vice Bureau.

He did this for me over nearly 20 years and be­fore that had done the same for my pre­de­ces­sor Sir Keith Speed.

All of Harold’s best char­ac­ter­is­tics came out in this role. He was in­cred­i­bly wellor­gan­ised and made sure that ev­ery­thing ran to time, but at the same time he was al­ways cour­te­ous and put the ner­vous at their ease.

On the rare oc­ca­sions when some­one ar­rived with a bel­liger­ent at­ti­tude, his com­bi­na­tion of outer charm and in­ner steel served us both well.

Of course Harold’s ser­vice to the bor­ough, as well as his work for the church, went far be­yond his role for me. In ev­ery­thing he did he was un­ques­tion­ing in the need to serve the public first, with his own needs less im­por­tant. He was good man and a great friend, and I will miss him hugely.

While I am pay­ing trib­ute to those who have re­cently de­parted, I should also ex­press my sad­ness at the loss of Tom Pel­ham, whom I first came across be­cause of his in­volve­ment in the Ash­ford Street Pas­tors. From that I was able to keep in touch with his in­spi­ra­tional work in projects like the Stan­hope Com­mu­nity Hub.

In very dif­fer­ent ways Harold and Tom showed us the best of hu­man­ity.

Ash­ford has been priv­i­leged to have peo­ple like this work­ing for its res­i­dents.

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