The funeral of Councillor Reg Williams took place at St Benedict Biscop Church today
Parish Councillors and staff said goodbye to Parish Councillor Reg Williams today as his funeral took place at St Benedict Biscop Church.
Councillor Dan Kinsey, Chairman of the Parish Council was one of many to pay tribute to Reg, this is what he had to say:
We are here today to celebrate the life of Reginald Williams. Reg, as he was affectionately known to Many of us, would be very touched that so many have determined to be here – and yet more who would have liked to be here. In fact, I think he would be quite surprised by the attention; so unassuming and modest a man as he was.
Many of you will have known Reg for many more years than I have, and will no doubt be remembering a great number of wonderful anecdotes that really encapsulate him. This is just my personal reflection.
As you will know, Reg was a longstanding Parish and District Councillor. I shan’t say any more on his District Council service as someone far more qualified than me will do so shortly. Reg served the Parish Council with distinction for twenty-six years. In that time, he was elected Chairman, serving between 2002 and 2003. He also served for an extensive period as the Chairman of our Planning Committee. This role, it always appeared to me, was made for him. Reg’s knowledge of planning was encyclopaedic, and the little he had forgotten was quite literally not worth knowing. He would lead members through an application, signposting the key areas of focus, and quite often a side note about what had existed on this site, who had lived there or other points of interest in the vicinity from many years before. In fact, we have always gotten a feeling for Reg’s eye for design as talk of the relevant planning considerations would often pause while he noted the unusual siting of the intended toilet, or how the extension changed the relationship of the kitchen to the living room – and much to the amusement of all present. That was Reg.
However, you will all likely know that Reg’s story in public service did not begin with him standing for election. He began as the dutiful supporter of his late wife, Joan, who also served the Parish for many years, including with four stints as Chairman. He was Joan’s consort at functions and her confidante. It was only upon his retirement that Reg sought to join Joan, and when celebrating his 25th year of continued service he noted that counting back to his joining the Parish Council took him back to being a mere 65 years old; he may have retired, but even then, Reg was only getting started.
Now, I have to say I never met Joan. Nonetheless I have a strong impression of her from a range of sources, and not least her husband. No less so was this the case when I saw Reg at his home where every fascinating item held a story that Reg was only too keen to relate; an antique clock that had seen better days which Joan had spotted while on holiday, lovingly restored and made good by Reg, now and forever a treasured memento. That was Reg.
We have established Reg’s credentials as a stalwart of Council meetings. So reliable you could set your watch by him, it is perhaps unsurprising that his memory was always as good as his timekeeping; and what a memory! His knowledge of the Parish he served for so long was, as with his knowledge of planning, encyclopaedic. What is more, and such a mark of the man, was his desire to pass this information on to others. Only too often after a meeting do I remember Reg catching my eye with a surreptitious gesture; ‘this way’ it suggested. Closing in, Reg’s gaze would then shift to an unremarkable cap on the floor, or a long-unused bracket on a wall which he would emphasise with a discreet yet theatrical jab with an extended finger. The purpose was immediately made clear along with a detailed anecdote that noted the importance of the object, often noting the last time it was used, and the array of characters that played parts in the story.
Indeed, so much local history was lived experience for Reg. One day when somehow we discussed the construction of the A449, he noted that, at the age of 19, he was riding pillion on the back of his friend’s motorbike. This was back when the main road to Stourbridge (their destination) was up Battlefield Hill past the Red Lion pub. It was here, said Reg, that his friend lost control, sending them both skidding along the tarmac. No doubt a painful experience, but Reg remembered it fondly. Again, that was Reg.
In the last eighteen months of Reg’s life, and despite all he had seen before, he, like us all, found himself dealing with a global pandemic. Living alone and being of a good age, we were naturally concerned about him. Our clerk, Rachael, called him in the first week of lockdown, just to check he was okay, and whether he needed anything. ‘Hang on’ said Reg, ‘Let me just do a head count to make sure we’re all accounted for’. The phone went silent for a moment. Then Reg exclaimed ‘One! All accounted for!’ Such was his sense of humour. I can still imagine him beaming a cheeky smile as he delivered that line. He always was one for an expertly timed one-liner. Despite his years, his wit was still razor-sharp.
Of course, Reg was also fiercely independent. We kept in touch regularly, but Reg never appeared to need anything. It appears that despite all advice to the contrary, Reg was still insisting on donning a mask and doing his own shopping. Indeed, despite an extended stay in hospital, we were totally unsurprised when his brother-in-law told us he had been in the hospital gym.
Despite his eagerness to get back on his feet, Reg was not quite up to driving. Instead, we agreed I would pick him up for meetings whenever he was feeling up to attending. The problem was, I drive a mini. It is low to the ground and small. Notwithstanding being tall and a little less steady on his feet than he used to be, Reg insisted on no help at all getting into or out of the car. This remained the case even at the last meeting he attended – a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at Codsall. Walking into the Council chamber he was welcomed by a round of applause from members. Word had spread that he was making an appearance, and such was the esteem and affection in which he was held that members wanted to give him a memorable welcome. Stepping into a roll of applause, Reg took a moment to process the scene, then lent over to me and said quietly, ‘You’re popular!’ I did explain the applause was all his. I think he knew. Self-effacing to the last. That was Reg.
I hope you have all enjoyed these brief reflections of mine, and that they have brought to mind some fond memories of your own.
Reg Williams was a monolithic presence in village life; dutiful husband, dedicated public servant, intellectual, razor-sharp of wit and memory. Above all, and I know everyone will agree on this, an absolute gentleman. Our lives are all the richer for having known him, and he will be greatly missed.
Reg will be sadly missed by everyone at Wombourne Parish Council.
Wombourne Parish Council is mourning the loss of a respected, long-serving Councillor who has sadly passed away.
Councillor Reginald Williams represented Wombourne Parish Council in the South East Ward for over twenty-five years and served on a number of committees, particularly the Parish Council’s Planning Committee of which he was Chairman for many years. He had been Chairman of the Parish Council in 2002.
Cllr Williams was also a longstanding member of South Staffordshire District Council for Wombourne South East. He was also Chairman of the District Council. Simply known as Reg to many that knew him, he had a longstanding affinity with the ward, which had been his home for many years.
Reg came into political life really as a dedicated supporter of his late wife, Joan. Joan had already had a long career as a Parish and District Councillor, serving as Parish Chairman four times. Upon his retirement, it was therefore quite natural for Reg to step into a life of public service; a commitment that he maintained after Joan’s passing.
Reg was a font of knowledge, whether of local history and geography, or many more diverse topics. He was an avid railways enthusiast and model-maker. Crafting objects, painting or doodling away on a notepad were some of his favourite pass times and as everyone that knew him will recall, he had a razor-sharp sense of humour and a cheeky smile.
Cllr Williams held an encyclopaedic knowledge of planning, and despite stepping down from the role as Chairman of the Planning Committee earlier this year, he remained as the Committee’s Vice-Chairman due to the esteem in which he was held in the role and because of the wealth of experience he brought to meetings.
Our Chairman, Councillor Dan Kinsey, reflected on Councillor Williams’s life of service; ‘Councillor Williams was a unique individual; warm and kind, friendly and utterly disarming. He was a charming man. He served his community with dedication, as did his beloved Joan. They were quite a team. Personally, I will never forget how, as a new member, he took me under his wing and supported me a great deal, such was his generosity. Formidably quick-witted, even at 90 years of age, he could break the ice, or tension, with a single line. Reg was a good friend, and we shall all miss him dearly’.
He will be greatly missed by all that knew him.
The Parish Council wishes to extend their deepest condolences to Councillor Williams’s family at this sad time.
Councillor Barry Bond MBE
Congratulations to Parish Councillor Barry Bond who has been honoured with an MBE for his services to education.
Barry, who is the chairman of governors at Green Park School in Wolverhampton, has supported individuals with special needs voluntarily for more than 40 years, championing the needs of the SEND community and embodying the ethos that every child matters.
He began volunteering with special needs groups in the 1980s, helping to raise funds, awareness and lead holiday trips giving disabled individuals unique travel experiences.
As reported in the Express and Star, he said: “I was very, very pleased when I first found out – but in a way I was quite sad because my wife, Mary, died just two years ago and she had been a great support to me throughout the time I had been involved in voluntary organisations and I would have really loved her to be there to enjoy the recognition. She was always very supportive and also did a lot of fundraising for the school. It would have put the icing on the cake for her to be here and share the success.
I think the young people and adults with special needs and disabilities are very much overlooked in society and I got involved to try and help them to get a better deal really. I wanted to act as an advocate to young people with special needs.”
Everyone at the Parish Council are thrilled to hear your news!
Help tackle bad behaviour on our roads today!
We’re looking for volunteers to grow our Community Speedwatch.
Speeding and related issues can be a real problem, but together we can help to make #saferoadsforall in Wombourne.
To express an interest, or to get involved, contact us on 01902 896300.Speed Watch poster
Wombourne Parish Council were sad to hear of the passing of former Councillor Henry (Harry) McTaggart aged 90.
Mr McTggart had served Wombourne Parish, South Staffordshire District and Staffordshire County Council’s for 26 years between 1963 and 1989.
He lived in Wombourne from 1959 until his passing on 20th May 2020.
His funeral will take place on Thursday 25th June, when will take one last journey around Wombourne village green at approximately 10.35am/10.40am before a private ceremony at Gornal Crematorium.
Our thoughts are with his children Carol, Maureen, Alison and Peter at this sad time.
While we are all living through some very difficult times indeed right now, it is really very nice to be able to celebrate something positive as a Council.
We are therefore very pleased to congratulate Councillor Reg Williams on achieving 25 years in the service of Wombourne residents as a Parish Councillor.
Councillor Reg Williams was first elected to the Council in 1995 and has served alongside quite a number of Councillors in that time, including of course, his late wife Joan.
Still a very active member of the Parish Council, Reg is well known for his very thoughtful and considered contributions to meetings, as well as his disarming smile and witty observations. His encyclopaedic knowledge of planning has proven invaluable in his continued role as Chairman of the Planning Committee, and his introductory talk on the subject has become something of a much appreciated right of passage for new Members.
It therefore gives us great pleasure in congratulating Councillor Williams on achieving this milestone, and sending him many well wishes in recognising this service and wishing him many more years of dedicated service to come.
Congratulations Councillor Williams.
(Tribute written by Chairman of the Council, Councillor Dan Kinsey – May 2020)
This piece has been taken from the South Staffordshire Review Magazine Issue 74
Councillor Robert Reade has represented Wombourne North and Lower Penn since 1999 and is the Cabinet Member for Welfare Services. Robert is also a Parish Councillor for Lower Penn and Wombourne and has been
Chairman of the Victory Hall Management Committee for the last 20 years.
Why did you decide to become District Councillor?
I hadn’t intended to become a Councillor but I was encouraged by Edward Bolland, a former Chairman. There were things happening that I wasn’t very happy about so I put my nomination papers in and got involved with local decisionmaking. I’ve never regretted it and it’s really shown me what can be done. I enjoy helping others and offering advice and I’d encourage anyone who wants to be involved with their community to consider becoming a Councillor.
I’ve been a cabinet member for many years and nowadays it’s like being involved with a business. We have to think about how to create income as well as make savings and see how efficient we can be. We’ve had to change with the times and cope with grant cuts and I’m pleased to be associated with a council that has adapted and faced these difficult decisions.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Being able to secure extra land for much needed car parking at Victory Hall in the heart of Lower Penn. The village
hall used to be an old Nissen hut and I oversee its management. Initially, it had a small parking area but I was able to
negotiate with the owners of a piece of land nearby and arrange its purchase. I like to think that I take after my father. He would always see if there was a way to do things and was good at talking to people and knew how to treat them properly.
What’s your background?
We moved to Hillcroft Farm in 1934 and there are three farms in the family – Hillcroft Farm, Langley Hall Farm and
Pear Tree Farm, all in Lower Penn. They were originally dairy farms but this changed to arable farming and growing
potatoes, wheat and barley, which I continued doing until 1989 when I saw a need to rethink. Having horses myself
and being interested in them, I decided to go into horse liveries, providing stabling and grazing in a do-it-yourself livery
yard where owners looked after their own horses. Farming is in my blood. My mother’s family originated from Ireland and were farmers so I have farming on one side and brewery on the other as my paternal grandfather was a master cooper at Butler’s in Wolverhampton, making the barrels at Springfield Brewery.
What’s your favourite place in South Staffordshire and why?
My home, Hillcroft Farm. Every time I walk in the fields I never get bored as it changes with the seasons. It’s also home
to my horses – five Clydesdales and a pony – and three dogs. I live there with my wife of six years, Jing, who is Chinese. My father always said you don’t know what’s around the bend in the road, and when I met Jing, well, I wish I could tell him about her. I’m extremely happy.
I played a lot of golf in the 1960s/70s and played for the county. I’m also a great supporter of traditional farming methods and my heavy horses have taken part in many local events for over 20 years. I bought the shire horses back in 1986 and used to show them at local shows before becoming interesting in taking part in ploughing matches.
Favourite piece of music?
I love music and I play the piano and the guitar. My favourite composer is probably Chopin and I also love ballets like Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, which we go to see every year.
Winston Churchill’s history of the Second World War. It’s very long but I read it when I was laid up after a couple
of operations. I’m interested in history and I think that one can learn such a lot from history because history very often
There was certainly stiff competition for this year’s Best Dressed Window Competition, with Chairman of the Parish Council, Councillor Daniel Kinsey and Vice Chairman, Councillor John Pike having the difficult task of judging the windows.
We are thrilled to announce that the Winner of this year’s Best Dressed Christmas Window goes to Blush Tanning & Beauty – the judges were really impressed by their snow scene display and felt it deserved top place this year. Well done to everyone at Blush Tanning & Beauty!
Runner up this year goes to Let’s Go Round Again. Their displays are always beautiful and this year’s was no exception. Well done to the team at Let’s Go Round Again.
Councillor Daniel Kinsey will be delivering your certificates to you in the next few days. Congratulations to you all and thank you for getting involved.
Thanks to all the shops and businesses who entered this year’s competition.. we would urge residents to be sure to continue to #shoplocal and support our shops and businesses in Wombourne this Christmas and beyond.
Merry Christmas everyone!
To echo my previous piece as your outgoing Vice Chairman, I’d like to say a warm hello to all of the residents of the Wombourne Parish – this time as your new Chairman. I must say, it is a great honour to be elected your Chairman for the next year, and along with the newly elected Council, we look forward to serving our Parish over the next four years.
As such, we have a wealth of talent on the Parish Council, including all seven of our District Councillors, and our County Councillor. I am grateful for their continued support and guidance, and we benefit greatly from their close involvement in the village.
Only a few weeks into my new role, I have already been kept busy representing the Parish across a wide variety of events. All have been thoroughly enjoyable, and I look forward to attending many more.
On Monday 24th June, I attended the flag-raising ceremony at the District Council for Armed Forces Day. As a history teacher myself, I am very committed to honouring the very best of our armed forces, whether current or historic. They deserve our undying respect. At this ceremony, I was stopped by a young lady who was amazed to see the procession, particularly of Parish and District Chairmen proudly wearing their chains of office. She asked me what I did, and I responded that I chaired my Parish Council and represented it at official engagements. She observed that the chains looked heavy, and was grateful for me taking the time to speak to her. Actually, it was a pleasure. I look forward to many more such encounters.
Of course, it has been that time of year again, where the village was gripped by Carnival Fever. This year’s theme, Bringing Books to Life, was well supported by the school float competition, and the quality of the entrants was as high as ever. Indeed, this is quite a pertinent theme, given the times. I’m sure we’ve all come to identify children’s playtime with television and video-games these days, but it is extremely important to underline the importance and joy of reading. I look forward to this each year, and it was fantastic to see so many turn out to support it.
The Carnival committee do a fantastic job in putting this annual show on, and a big well done to all those that help to bring it together on the day! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting people throughout the day, visiting all the stalls and seeing the fantastically high standards at the W.I. event. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves too, and look forward to seeing you there next year.
One of my main initiatives as Chairman has been to demonstrate my unwavering support for Wombourne’s Best Kept Village committee. They have done a fantastic job for many years keeping our village looking its best, and in recent years has grown its volunteer base which is enabling it to undertake ever more ambitious initiatives. It is amazing to see the improvements they have made to the village. Anyone who has been past the Women’s Institute village hall on the High street recently will be able to attest to what they can do in a single morning, and I was delighted to offer my own services in support of them.
What is more, with support from schools, and all manner of youth organisations, they are helping to create a new generation that sees actively caring for their surroundings as an essential part of community life. This is simply inspirational, and I would ask all those that can spare a morning to check the BKV Facebook page for their next scheduled activities – it would be lovely to see you there.
Finally, I would like to reiterate the words of our last Chairman, Mary Roberts. I really do wish to encourage more community feedback to the Parish Council, especially your triumphs, and hope to see residents in the Public Participation sessions before the monthly Parish Meetings.
Wombourne Parish Council