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Letter to Editor: “There would be no Harlow Playhouse nor Pets Corner if it wasn’t for the diligence, commitment and professionalism  of Cllr Nick Churchill”

Politics / Sun 11th Feb 2024 at 11:06am

Dear Sir,

I recently recorded a podcast with the incomparable entrepreneur and theatrical impresario that is Martin Colton and the BTS Creative Academy, which premiered on all platforms on Thursday 8th February 2024.

During this conversation which covered a wide range of topics we touched on my time as Deputy Leader at Harlow District Council. Particularly with regards the creative aspects for which your readers will know I’ve always had a particular affinity.

I was reminded of and recounted the subject that the Playhouse was under threat and I told the story in the programme about the fact Cllr. Nick Churchill conducted  the longest council meeting in the council’s history in order to find the right result and reach consensus among all political parties.

It genuinely is true, as I noted in the podcast, that it is actually no understatement to say today neither Harlow Playhouse nor Pets Corner would be in existence if it wasn’t for the diligence, commitment and professionalism  of Cllr Nick Churchill. 

However, after the interview, I reflected that Nick as my ward colleague wasn’t only just a mentor to me on how to act as a ward councillor, we were the only two scrutiny chairman on the council and I learnt such a great deal from him and it was hugely down to his efforts that we were recognised jointly as ‘outstanding’ and ‘groundbreaking’ in the field of Scrutiny Committees  by both FOSIG and the Local Government Association, even at the time the council as a whole was classified as ‘poor’.

He wasn’t just inspirational, he was transformational and after the podcast recording,  I have only just realised that this year he celebrates his silver jubilee having spent a quarter of a century representing with such commitment the amazing populus of Sumners & Kingsmoor Ward on Harlow District Council.

It occurs to me, from the day I rocked up as a teenager candidate and he took me under his wing and advised me both when I was in a position of leadership and when he helped school me in becoming a Council Chairman that I don’t believe I’ve ever properly thanked him.

So thank you Cllr Nick Churchill, for your warmth, understanding and mentorship, thank you for making sure we still have the Harlow Playhouse and Pets Corner, thank you for always being cheery, affable and behaving with absolute dignity even in the face of adversity. 

Most importantly, thank you for always representing honestly and with the best intention the views of those who live in Sumners & Kingsmoor Ward, a duty you have never shirked even when it made you unpopular, even inside our own party. 

It will be well known to your reader,  that despite formally being Deputy Chair of Harlow Conservatives and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group on Harlow District Council, I haven’t always been complimentary about their handling of affairs since I left the Council and the Town but I must pay credit where it’s entirely due, continuing to back Cllr Nick Churchill as a bastion of being a local Councillor they must be congratulated.

Understanding that someone like Nick is genuinely a man of the people representing their own area and their residents. They alongside Nick, deserve all the praise in the world and if I may, I hope to be able to send another letter to Your Harlow on the occasion of Nick’s Golden Jubilee!!

Kindest regards, 

John Paul Goddard LLB
Former Deputy Leader, Harlow Conservatives 

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