The Chairman made the following announcements:
He advised Members that the Christmas Carol Service was being held at 7pm on Thursday 19th December at Christ Church and that it would be wonderful to see all Members there.
He advised that Members would be aware of the deeply sad passing of Councillor David Stevenson and gave Members the opportunity to say a few words after a minute’s silence that was observed in memory of one of the authority’s dear fellow councillors.
Councillor T Gillard commented that David was the longest serving member of the council, having first been elected for the Valley ward in 1973 when North West Leicestershire District Council was first created. The ward later became known as the Worthington and Breedon ward and he was re-elected to it every four years leading to an unbroken service of over 46 years, which was quite remarkable. He was also a parish councillor for Worthington for a great number of years.
One of the reasons he was re-elected every term was the enormous respect he earned from his constituents. David cared about his communities and each and every day he showed passion and commitment to make a difference to people’s lives.
He remembered that David was known and loved by every one of all political persuasions. David was a much-respected Chairman of the Planning Committee between May 2007 and May 2018 and this was a role he really enjoyed. He was a great speaker in the Council Chamber and his points were always of great merit. Councillor Gillard summed up by stating that David Stevenson would be sadly missed, particularly in the Chamber having taken his seat by his side over many years. He added that it would be very difficult for him and his colleagues to come to terms with his absence and that they had kept his seat for him at this meeting.
David is now at peace as he joins Joyce but he will never be forgotten in the Chamber.
David's funeral will be held at 11.45am on Thursday at Worthington Parish Church. It is a small church but there will be a marquee and speakers outside to accommodate more attendees and you are all welcome.
As a mark of respect, the flag at the Council Offices will fly at half-mast on Thursday.
Councillor S Sheahan commented that David had shown great dedication to the role of district councillor over the past 46 years and standing in 13 elections. Making such a commitment required great fortitude; an understanding family and a willingness help the residents of his ward. David has given great service to this Council and both he and his vast experience will be missed.
Councillor R Boam shared his first memory of David when they had met in 1981 when he was 10 years old and David had visited his home on the campaign trial, and the a few days later when out with friends, a very smartly dressed David had driven up to them and started chatting away to them. He was sure that David was just checking that they were behaving themselves. He stated that he knew he would like to be just like David, a well-respected member of the community and that he looked up to him. Councillor R Boam commented that he went to school with David’s daughter and had got to know the family well and in later years turned to David for Planning advice. He was pleased to have been elected 5 years ago as it gave him the opportunity to work alongside David, who always had great advice, always listened, made site visits enjoyable and was always able to share a joke. He was a much-respected man. He recalled when Councillor N Smith and himself went round to David’s house to discuss chairing Planning Committee, David got out his best bottle of red wine to be shared. He stated that David had made a lasting impression on him and area, and that he would never forget him or his advice. In his honour, he would go home after the meeting, open bottle of red and drink a toast to David.
Councillor N Smith remembered that Councillor N J Rushton and his self were first elected to the Council in 1987 when David was the party leader. He commented that nothing was ever too much trouble for David and he would help any fellow Councillor no matter what their political beliefs. His passions other than his family were the Council and fishing and shooting. He remembered Alison tripping over two ducks that “Steveo” had left by the back door for them. He was a great guy who would be sadly missed.
Councillor J Hoult commented that he remembered David from their first meeting at group when he was feeling lost; David sat next him and told him what to say. David had got him two tractors and two barn engines, but sadly never got all the pigeons, with reference to David’s dislike of pigeons which he would always comment about on the Planning Site visits. If he was stuck and asked, a question David would always know the answer. He was proud to have known him and he would be missed.
Councillor D Harrison advised that Members spoke in tribute to David at the previous Council meeting and was pleased to have said there and then, what he wanted to say how much he appreciated David. He stated that David was unique and remembered the occasion that he had been asked to check on David’s canvassing as they were not getting reports and when he went out with David, it became obvious, as everyone David met, he would know and speak to. He was a proper man of the people.
Councillor R Bayliss recollected that David was well established at the leader of the group when he was first elected in 1983 and had done the hard yards as the opposition. However, the crucial thing about David’s character was when the group chose a different leader after the May 2007 election. David did not ride off in to the sunset in a huff but fully co-operated supported the new leader and that was the measure of the man. He would always abide by a democratic decision. He stated that David was probably not the most articulate speaker in the Chamber but you knew what was said was meant in full force and sincerity, which was how he gained so much respect. He had known David for over 40 years, and he may not have been a bosom friend but he was a part of the furniture. Anyone would be diminished by a loss and this was certainly the case with the loss of David.
Councillor D Everitt remembered going on the
Planning site visits and David always having interesting facts
about the countryside, and that after the committee meetings they
would always meet up in Morrisons when shopping and discus
the meeting in a good natured way. He stated that when Joyce first
became ill his wife visited in her nursing role. David had made her
very welcome and she was pleased to have known them both.
Councillor R Blunt commented that all knew David was ill but he had still been very shocked when he got the call to say David had passed away. He felt that it was symbolic that the Council had met so soon after his death and before his funeral as the Council meant so much to David and he always tried to be at the meetings. He noted that David had been the founding father of the Council along with Frank Straw, whom he fought tooth and nail with but always worked together for what was best for the District. He remembered that he had first meet David, who was his Ward Member when he had returned from London and urged him to stand for election. From that moment onwards, he was incredibly kind, through private and shy and made him his Deputy. This came a surprise and they had worked together on the committee to appoint Christine. David had supported him in becoming the spokesperson for Planning and then likewise when he had become leader David took the role of Chair of Planning Committee and remained very loyal. He described David as the true epitome of a public servant who was devoted to the job and cared about politics. David had set an example to all.
Councillor J Bridges remembered when the Leader had asked him to become the Deputy Chair of Planning to assist David, but was advised that David may not ask or need help, however he was pleased to say that the Leader was wrong. He stated that David did share and asked questions and through that a friendship had formed. He stated that David was an honourable man and if you really did want to get to know David, you needed to have gone out and done the canvass. It took a long time, not just because of the distance but because everyone knew David and wanted to talk to him. He advised that anyone who wanted to be a councillor needed to be respected and known by the residents, as David was. He was a wonderful man who he could call his friend.