Our Man in Westminster
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.