I have just heard the sad news of the death on Remembrance Sunday of Councillor Joe Holliday, who was leader of the "West Cumbria Independents" group on Cumbria County Council.
Just over a year ago Councillor Holliday, who was then 75, celebrated 60 years in local government as an employee or councillor.
As an employee he worked for Cumbria County council and a predecessor authority for forty years. He started as an apprentice aged fifteen, worked his way up to foreman and then went on to become the region’s first re-instatement inspector in 1967, his role being role to oversee the repair of the roads after they had been dug up by contractors and to issue them with permits.
His final post was as Resource Manager for the Allerdale area, directing the work of sixty employees, and he continued in that role until his retirement in 1999. Not long afterwards he was elected as a councillor himself, serving as a Cumbria county and later also Allerdale borough councillor and he was mayor of Allerdale in 2011-12.
In the interim between his retirement and his election as a councillor (and afterwards) he was clerk to two parish councils so he had an unbroken record of more than sixty-one years in local government by the time of his death yesterday.
Over the last two years he continued to work for his constituents despite suffering excruciating pain because of two prolapsed discs.
(He injured his back in December 2018 trying to bring a Christmas tree downstairs – the seasonal tradition of putting a tree up was thereafter banned in the Holliday household and perhaps it is a warning to the rest of us to be careful while doing so.)
Joe Holliday worked hard for his local community. He will be missed.
Rest in Peace.