Now that the excesses of Christmas and the New Year are fading in our memory (and I hope you enjoyed at least some of them) we can look forward to 2012 with optimism and a depleted bank account. Sorry to drag money into it – surely to goodness we hear more than enough about the economy every day through the media – but it’s a sad fact that many individuals and organisations are feeling the pinch. The Bulletin is no exception, so it was a massive relief to be offered a financial lifeline by the Parish Council which will take effect in the spring.
As a token of our appreciation the team felt it might be a good idea to get to know each Councillor a little better by way of this column. After all other villagers have been put through it, so why shouldn’t they!
This month I started at the top with Chairman Steve Richardson who a great many of you will already know. He has lived in the village all his life as have three generations before him. The Richardson family have an extremely strong sense of public duty for both his grandfather and father took the role of Parish Clerk. Steve served as a Councillor for two years before taking the Chair seventeen years ago, following in the footsteps of his great grandfather who was the first to hold the post in 1895. He is quick to admit that meetings were much shorter in those days and not bedevilled by all the red tape and what, to many, may seem unnecessary legislation that our Clerk copes with today.
The picture he paints of Hutton Cranswick in earlier days is difficult to imagine for anyone who hasn’t experienced it for themselves. I struggle to visualise cattle and horses grazing on the Green amidst five air raid shelters during the war years. How the cricket team managed to play a decent game I don’t know. What became of the seventeen working farms within the village boundaries, and how did folk cope without street lighting until as recently as the 1970s?
Steve’s education began at the village school before attending Beverley Grammar School and eventually culminated in his training as an accountant.
He married local girl Gwynneth in 1974 having begun his courtship by picking her up at a bus stop! His words not mine … . They have a daughter who lives near York and a son in Berkshire whose wife is expecting their first baby in April, so an exciting year in prospect.
Under his Chairmanship in 1995 the village was improved by the creation of Centenary Wood, a lovely spot enjoyed by all; and the formation of Gatehouse Fishing Lake in 1996, where Steve can be found indulging in one of his passions. The village allotments were under threat during this time until the Council instigated a drainage programme and since then their popularity, like their produce, has grown and grown.
Apart from fishing, shooting and photography are favourite pastimes of the leader of the Council, and I had a lovely time fussing over Pip, the family pet/gun dog.
Considering the time constraints put on his time by community involvement, Steve still actually holds down two jobs, both of which he thoroughly enjoys. Firstly he is Regional Secretary of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust which is obviously close to his heart. He also describes the pleasure derived from driving through the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, ostensibly en route to inform farmers of the virtues of various necessary minerals, but also to
enjoy a jolly good chinwag.
It’s very possible that records will be broken for the longevity of the Chairmanship of a Parish Council, and we won’t have far to look to know who achieved it!