It was the lockdown that brought it all home to Jim when he realised how incredibly lucky we all are to live here. Wanting to make a small difference to this community, he decided to volunteer for the Parish Council. He believes it is the little things that affect our daily lives – for example, he thinks that more dog bins around the village would be a good thing. Equally, he is concerned about some of the bigger things too like the need for increased safety at the Stoke Row Road/Gallowstree Common crossroads that saw yet another serious accident at the beginning of July.
Jim sits on both the Planning Committee and the Finance Committee and is also Deputy Chairman – he doesn’t find this too onerous and devotes possibly a couple of hours a week to council business. Very concerned about the new planning laws he feels that, more than anything, a sensible balance is required. He cites Sonning Common as an example of a village that worked hard to develop a Neighbourhood Plan that has since been apparently ridden roughshod over. The need for more housing is something he recognises and yet understands that there is a responsibility to protect our AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
Jim has worked from home for several years now; this enables him to capitalise on his environment – he loves the countryside. He runs several times a week, having formerly run marathons and ultra-marathons, and walks his dog daily. Part of his reason for joining the Parish Council was to look out for the countryside: he doesn’t think that things should stand still but, on the other hand, we still need to protect what we have.
With his wife and their two children, Jim moved to Peppard six years ago. At that time, he worked for British Gas at their HQ in Reading and had just returned from overseas; they liked South Oxfordshire and so searched for a house in this area. Finally, they bought an old house in Colliers Lane, demolished it and built their own house. During this enterprise they lived in rented accommodation but, nevertheless, it was a time-consuming and sometimes nerve-wracking project. Jim enjoys gardening and particularly enjoys working in what once was an old overgrown garden. The garden evolves the whole time and he frequently discovers old plants that must have been put in the ground 30 or 40 years ago.
Jim has worked in the energy industry for many years and has lived in several different locations around the world; his last assignment was in Brisbane, Australia where he lived for three and a half years, prior to that they lived in Singapore and before they had children, they lived in Thailand.
Having left British Gas, Jim, now 52, became a consultant in the natural gas industry for corporate clients. He says that transition to green energy, whilst vitally important, needs to be realistic and achievable. As we work towards more renewable and zero carbon energy (with the aim of 100%), electricity still needs to be delivered reliably and affordably – and people still want electricity.
As a family they enjoy the outdoors and recently returned from a holiday in Filey Bay on the Yorkshire coast. Luckily, they had lovely weather and were able to walk their dog along miles of empty beach. They also enjoy more distant locations and like to visit places of interest, ancient sites and enjoy different cultures. Jim says that he enjoys the beach as much as anyone but likes to combine it with something a bit more active – when the family were on holiday in St Lucia, for example, he and his daughter went off to climb one of the Pitons.
Let’s hope that he continues to expend that sort of energy as a councillor to help our village.