A SOLIHULL political veteran who served as a councillor for nearly half a century has been awarded one of the borough’s most prestigious titles.
Former leader of the Solihull Liberal Democrats John Windmill was given the title of Honorary Alderman by Solihull council this week.
Mr Windmill, who was Solihull’s longest-serving councillor until earlier this year, has been recognised for his distinguished service to the borough.
He was awarded the position on Tuesday (October 9) at a full council meeting.
Mr Windmill thanked the council for the honour, saying he felt particularly thankful because the title is not usually awarded to normal members of the council and is reserved for former mayors and leaders.
He said: “It is often said that political careers finish in either defeat or death. May I assure you from personal experience that I prefer the former to the latter.
“I was proud to take part in a council where we fought vigorously on policies and matters like that, but we always respected the individuals, the opposition to us.
“They are human beings. And I think this is so important to remember in our political life.
“That we realise we are fellow human beings all working in the best manner which we can hope for the future of our borough.
“And I think that Solihull has had this ideal and I think the public and the borough has actually gained an advantage from it.
“May I ask and plead with you to maintain this.
“In an era in which our politics now seems to be divided with bitterness and where personal integrity is cast out and people deal with the thoughts of individuals rather than arguing about policy.”
John gained his first seat and represented his ward of Olton for 46 years.
He sat on many committees and boards, but his main interest was in planning, a subject in which he has amassed considerable expertise, having worked as a solicitor until his retirement.
Sitting on the planning committee for over 25 years, he held various influential roles including chairman.
He was also of great importance within the Solihull Liberal Democrats, holding the position of leader of the group from 1994 until 2005 and subsequently from 2012 till May this year.
John lost his seat at this year’s council elections which saw a swing to the Tories at the expense of a a number of Liberal Democrat councillors.
On presenting the award to him, mayor Flo Nash said: “It gives me great pleasure to award the title of Honorary Alderman of the borough to John, who has given an exemplary level of service to the area for many years and is fully deserving of this honour.”