‘People’s champion’ steps down from district council

Councillor George Parish has announced he is stepping down after serving more than 20 years.
Councillor George Parish has announced he is stepping down after serving more than 20 years.

PEOPLE’S champion George Parish, the longest serving Labour councillor on Cherwell District Council, resigned his district seat this week.

Mr Parish lives in Glamis Place on Bretch Hill and has served the Ruscote estate as district councillor for more than 20 years.

He is also a Banbury town councillor and will continue in that role.

Mr Parish said: “After 20 years on the district council I feel it is time to take a rest but I am staying on the town council.”

A former Banbury Town Mayor and chairman of Cherwell District Council, Mr Parish has been one of a few to bridge the gap between the political parties as a highly popular figure across all sections of the community.

One of his proudest hours has been securing the future of the Horton as a fully operational district general hospital in the face of downgrading proposals that would have taken most major medical services to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

The triumph came after Mr Parish led a three-year battle as chairman of the Save the Horton campaign that culminated in a full inquiry by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel which found Banbury was too far distant to risk emergencies being transported the 25 miles to Oxford.

He was last re-elected as Ruscote ward district councillor in 2010.

A by-election for the seat is set for November 15, the same day the public will vote for a Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley. Labour candidate for the Ruscote seat will be fellow town councillor Gordon Ross. Speaking on behalf of Banbury Labour Party, Cllr Andy Beere said: “George Parish has always fought for the interests of people living in the Ruscote ward and Banbury as a whole.

“He will be a very difficult act to follow but I am sure Gordon [if elected] will live up to George’s high standard.”

Born in Banbury, Mr Parish is married to Suzanne and has three sons and a granddaughter.

He worked at Kraft Foods for more than 30 years and was the Transport and General Workers shop steward.

He was Town Mayor of Banbury from 1995-96 when he famously held a rock and roll revival fundraiser and became known as the rock and roll mayor.

He was chairman of the district council from 2010-11.