Respected Sutton Bridge Parish Council John Grimwood stepping down
One of South Holland’s most respected parish council chairmen is bowing out.
John Grimwood believes 72 is the right age for him to step aside from Sutton Bridge Parish Council.
He joined the council around a dozen years ago when the village - and the council - was torn in two by a controversial traffic scheme in Bridge Road.
That so-called enhancement scheme was eventually revised and the war of words ended.
For the last seven or eight years, John has been the cool, calm and collected chairman of an altogether more orderly council.
“It used to be a nightmare”, says John with characteristic frankness. “Now I enjoy going there.”
Under John’s chairmanship, a big project has come to fruition with completion of a burial ground in Bridge Road.
Little projects - like new Christmas lights, which will grow to cover a wider area over the years - have also been well received.
John says: “Parish councils should look after the village and politics should not come into it at all. I think most of our parish councillors are independent, which is - I think - how it should be.
“When politics come into it, I think it distorts everything. You have only got to look at Brexit, haven’t you?
“I think everybody needs to pull together.”
In council meetings John is the master of a little understood art: listening.
He said: “I have had my thoughts altered by listening to people.
“If you can’t sit and listen to people you didn’t ought to be there.
“I have had my mind made up about things and, when people have spoken I have thought perhaps I have got it wrong - you need to be able to put your hands up and say perhaps I was coming from the wrong angle, perhaps they are right.”
John’s sense of community means he has a whole village under his wing.
He takes fly-tipped waste to the tip, repairs bits and pieces like broken signs and he was the man putting up 30mph reminder signs along Bridge Road.
John was born in Holbeach and moved to Sutton Bridge 52 years ago when he married Doreen, who also served a term on the parish council in recent years.
For many years John worked for his father-in-law’s coach company, J W Carnell Ltd, eventually being jointly responsible for running it.
These days he’s still behind the wheel doing a school run for a taxi firm and his hobbies include his allotment.
He chairs his last parish council meeting this month but intends to stay in touch and be of service when he can.
“It’s a funny old thing,” said John. “I don’t think you can just drop it and walk away.”
Read moreHuman Interest
More by this authorLynne Harrison