Couple step down from Cookham Parish Council after decades of service

Emma Billingham

After more than half a century of combined service to Cookham Parish Council, John and Jean Stretton have retired.

Jean first became parish councillor in 1976, with John following in 2000.

The couple, who live in Berries Road, stepped down from the council this month following 56 years of service to the village.

Over the years, the parents of two and grandparents of two worked on many projects to improve the Cookhams, including protection of the Poundfield site and the introduction of resident parking permits in the High Street.

John, 96, said: “We very much enjoyed our time. It was good when there was a problem and you are able to put it right’.

“It was difficult though, you would have people stop you in the street to talk about something.”

Mr Stretton also served as a Royal Borough councillor for eight years, stepping down last year from the Bisham and Cookham ward.

He added: “It was good to get things through quicker that affected the village, because I had that special seat.”

Jean, 88, was chairman of the parish council from 1993-94, and vice-chairman twice from 1979-80 and 1995-96.

Current chairman of Cookham Parish Council, Fiona Hewer, said in a letter to Mr and Mrs Stretton: “Cookham owes you both a debt of gratitude for your many years of service. The council has benefitted greatly from your insights.”

The pair, whose daughter Claire is a Royal Borough councillor for Boyn Hill, have a shelf full of paperwork and newspaper cuttings documenting their public work.

Cllr Claire Stretton said: “For as long as I can remember, both my parents have always been involved in the local community in Cookham and their activities most certainly inspired me to do the same. Both my parents’ motivation has always been to work for the community, rather than any personal political aspiration.”

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