Agenda item

Chair's announcements


1. Death of Former County Councillor Mota Singh


Councillor Alan Cockburn (Chair of Council) announced the death on 31 January 2021 of former County Councillor Mota Singh. The meeting was  informed that Mota Singh had been elected to the County Council in 1985 being the first Indian to serve on the Council. During his 24 years with the County Council Mota Singh served on the Police Committee and its successor the Police Authority. In 21 years on these bodies he served twice as Chair.


He also had a particular interest in social services and education.


In 1999 Mota became the Vice Chair of Council and in 2000 he became Chair. As Chairman, he met Prince Charles at Stratford Upon Avon, Her Majesty the Queen at a Buckingham Palace garden party, and escorted Prince Philip at the Royal Show at Stoneleigh.


Tributes to Mota Singh were paid by members of Council.


Councillor Parminder Singh Birdi remembered Mota Singh as a staunch socialist who was an inspiration to others through the commitment he demonstrated to the people he served for over 24 years.


Councillor John Holland commented on the length of time that Mota Singh served on the council. He would be remembered for being warm and friendly and always interested in people. Nothing was too much trouble for him. He commenced his working day as a post man and post driver at 4.30 in the morning. Having completed his duties, he would then commence his work for the community. Although he had been unable to complete his education in India, this was not a barrier to him. He would be greatly missed.


Councillor Sarah Boad had known Mota Singh since 1994. Membership of Leamington Town Council meant that they continued to work together until his retirement from politics in 2019. Mota Singh was notable in that he became Deputy Mayor of Leamington on his election to the Town Council. This was unusual and can be attributed to his record with Warwickshire County Council. He was a kind and gentle man who will be greatly missed.


Councillor Maggie O’Rourke knew Mota Singh through their work on equality and inclusion. He worked tirelessly, always finding time to listen. In memory of Mota Singh Councillor O’Rourke quoted Mahatma Gandhi. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.


Councillor Izzi Seccombe (Leader of the Council) remembered Mota Singh on the Police Authority. He was a quiet man who could fill the room with his personality.


Councillor Judy Falp observed that Mota Singh was gentleman. When she was out in Whitnash with the late Bernard Kirton, Mota Singh would always find time to say hello and enquire after them.


Councillor Jonathan Chilvers (Leader of the Green Group) observed that Mota Singh was a breaker of boundaries who was always liked. As time moved on he became ever more popular in his community; Successive elections saw his majority grow. He would always listen and if he thought a cause was just, he would pursue with great tenacity. Councillor Janet Alty (Leamington Town Council) was a mutual friend who travelled with Mota Singh to India to visit the school set up in his son’s memory.


Councillor Helen Adkins noted that Mota Singh’s legacy has been to pass the baton on to colleagues who are the first female Sikh councillors in the area.


Councillor Wallace Redford had known Mota Singh for many years as the local postman. He always found time for a chat and a cup of tea and always had a real interest in people’s wellbeing.


Councillor Alan Cockburn shared an interest in agriculture with Mota Singh whose family had farmed in the Punjab region of India. The Punjab, Mota Singh maintained, had the most fertile land anywhere in the world.


2. Death of Former County Councillor Lady Jean Liggins


The death in December 2020 of former County Councillor Lady Jean Liggins was noted. Lady Liggins served the County Council from 1985 to 1989. In 1990 she was awarded the CBE for her services to politics.


Councillor Les Caborn remembered that when he first stood for the County Council in Barford, Lady Liggins had introduced him to all the people he needed to know. In 1984 she narrowly avoided the bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton as she has left early for a meeting back at home. She decided not to stand for a second term with the County Council as it was, “not lively enough”.


Councillor John Holland knew Lady Liggins quite well after she moved to Warwick. He informed Council that she insisted on being called “Jean” rather than “Lady”


Councillor Izzi Seccombe recognised Lady Liggins as a power in the Conservative Party. She was committed to serving her community and although gentle and quiet she showed great tenacity. Councillor Seccombe drew a parallel between Mota Singh and Jean Liggins who both showed great commitment to the people they served.


Councillor Sarah Boad had been at health-related meetings with Lady Liggins. She had demonstrated great commitment to public service.


Council observed a minute’s silence in memory of Mota Singh and Lady Jean Liggins.


3. Mayor of Leamington’s Quiz


Councillor Cockburn informed the meeting that he had attended a virtual quiz night organised by the Mayor of Leamington Spa. Six teams were entered, and Councillor Cockburn’s team had won.