Please see the briefing note, which does not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.
4.1 Tour of Britain
The Chair reflected on his experience watching the Tour of Britain stage seven route come to Gloucestershire on 9 September 2023. He shared what a fantastic event it was and welcomed the very large turnout. He urged members to watch the highlights footage as he felt it showed the very best of the county.
4.2 Steve Mawson
As members were aware, Steve Mawson was due to leave the Council to take up the role of Chief Executive at Kirklees Council. This was his last council meeting, and the Chair took this opportunity to thank him on behalf of all members for the commitment and dedication he had shown since being appointed as our Deputy Chief Executive back in 2019.
Steve’s vast knowledge and experience had greatly benefitted GCC during his time with us. As well as keeping the Council’s finances in good order, he played a significant role in chairing the partnership board that oversaw our recovery from COVID, introducing Agile working across GCC and in overseeing the redevelopment of this Council Chamber.
The Chair wished Steve well for the future on behalf of all members.
4.3 Keith Rippington
Members were invited to pay tribute to former County Councillor Keith Rippington who sadly passed away on the 3 September 2023. Keith served on the Council from 2017-2021 and sat on Audit and Governance Committee, Environment Committee and Planning Committee. The Chair shared that he knew Keith and he was a lovely man. The Chair offered his condolences to Keith’s family.
The following Councillors paid their respects:
Cllr Stephen Davies: Keith was elected to Council at the same time as me and like me represented a Stroud division. We worked closely together, and he was a friend. He was also a very competent councillor and was actually recently still talked about during the district by-election in Painswick with great affection. He was also a man of very strong convictions, particularly on Brexit which did alter the course of his political career and I feel isolated him from some of his colleagues, although I know he was a strong supporter of Siobhan Ballie MP and that they remained in contact, it was actually Siobhan who told me the sad news. But sadly, not long after his election, he had a number of health issues which set him back and he was not able to continue as actively as he would have hoped. I think in some ways if that hadn’t happened, he would have had a career in local politics that would have been very different. Personally, I will always remember bumping into him in the Falcon Inn one Sunday surrounded by his family in happier times, I will remember him in that way.
Cllr Steve Robinson: Like Stephen, both Keith and I were elected at the same time, and I can remember Keith very fondly, he was a lovely guy and he always had time to chat. We were both on Planning and in the minibus when we were going around, we would always have a good chat. I remember one time having a drink with him in Nailsworth and we chatted all evening. My thoughts are with his daughters at this time.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson: I was leader of the Lib Dem Group when Keith actually joined us back in 2019 and as has been said, Brexit was something that Keith felt very strongly about and was one of the reasons he decided to join us. He was with us for a short period of time. Keith was on a political journey, from the Conservatives to the Lib Dems and then in his final months on this council he was an Independent. He really was a nice man; he had a lot of strong convictions, and we greeted him well into our Group but obviously he decided that he wanted to become an Independent after that. However, the most important thing to say is he is a great loss and at a relatively young age that is very sad for his family and all his friends that he had, so we obviously mourn him too on this side of the chamber.
Cllr Cate Cody: None of us actually knew Keith but on behalf of the Green Group I would like to extend our commiserations to his family.
Cllr Susan Williams: I knew Keith only briefly as I got to know him as the prospective candidate for the Painswick division which I have taken over from him. Every time I met him, I was struck with his sincerity and how determined he was to make a difference in his community and for our county. I have been in contact with the family and would like to also offer my condolences here now. A lovely, lovely gentleman.
Members stood for a 1-minute silence as a mark of respect for Keith.
4.4 Cllr Stephan Fifield
On behalf of members, the Chair congratulated Cllr Fifield on his recent engagement.