To receive any announcements.
Father Simon Vivian led the reflection before the meeting started.
A minute’s silence was held for all those who had died from Covid-19 over the last year, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and Surjit Basra, former District Councillor for Buntingford.
The Chairman invited Councillor Jones to say a few words about former Councillor Surjit Basra.
Councillor Jones led a tribute to Surjit Basra who was born in India in 1950 and moved to the United Kingdom in 1968. He was a hard worker who spent time in Leamington Spa, Coventry and Nottingham and married his wife in Hitchin in 1969. He bought his first shop in Letchworth and it was so successful that he purchased a second shop in Buntingford. He was incredibly popular with local residents with his sense of humour and kindness, he always had to time to chat and listen. Mr Basra took the time to be fully involved in the community and was an active Town Councillor, serving for 18 years. He often said he considered himself to be a good councillor as he could see issues from all sides; a resident, parent and local businessman. He served as Mayor of Buntingford three times and was a wonderful ambassador for the town. Mr Basra was elected as the District Councillor for Buntingford and served for two years when Councillor Jones succeeded him in a by-election. He enjoyed his time at East Herts District Council but could not devote the time required to represent his community as well as being the Town Mayor and run a successful business. He made a huge contribution to the community and considered Buntingford his true home.
The Chairman said that Louie Corpe had recently stepped down as a District Councillor to begin his new life in Switzerland. He would be missed by his Liberal Democrat colleagues and others in the Chamber. The Chairman had sent him an email to thank him for his service and his reply was as follows:
“It has been a privilege and an honour to serve on the Council and although I regret not being able to serve a full term, I am proud of my achievements in the last two years. We are settling in to our new flat in the Geneva area and I am having a great time getting to grips with cutting edge sensors, radioactive sources and high voltage power supplies. It is quite a change from Bishop’s Stortford!”
The Chairman ran through the highlights of his term:
· The Civic evening held in Ware in 2019 with special guest, TV historian David Olusoga in aid of Isabel Hospice.
· One of the most enjoyable events attended was the 25th anniversary of CHIPS who run regular play schemes for children with learning differences.
· Living Together in East Herts event in September 2019 at what is now the South Mill Arts Complex.
· Remembrance Sundays, Civic Services across East Herts and Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations which was held on Zoom this year.
· He represented East Herts at St Albans Cathedral on several occasions including the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire’s service.
· It was a privilege to attend events put on by the Town Mayors, some sadly cancelled because of the pandemic.
· He hoped to soon be able to attend an East Herts social event outside at Wallfields when restrictions allow.
He thanked officers for their support over the last few years. He thanked Esther Piper who has found her role changing over the last few months, James Ellis, Katie Mogan and her predecessor Rebecca Dobson, and Will Troop, Peter Mannings and Steven King for hosting the Council meetings on Zoom. He thanked Kate Collins and Georgia Adamson for their work in the office and thanked his partner Kezia for her support. He paid tribute to all councillors who had played their part in civil democratic debates and discussions to do their best for their residents.