Nick Launders is one of those lucky, lucky people who decided his future career whilst at school and then went on to love every minute of it. He is an army man to his very core – even his casual clothes are army green! His childhood dream was to follow his late father into the RAF but, at school, he discovered it was the army that was to be his destiny when he was given the opportunity to lead a group of eight children at an army cadet camp in the Brecon Beacons.
He retired in 1995 having stayed in the army for 33 years; during this time he was in the Royal Artillery and did tours of duty in many countries and lived in a total of eighteen different homes. Nick ended his military career as a Lieutenant Colonel although he rarely uses the title now. After leaving the army, he joined the Ministry of Defence in various roles.
Once retired from the army, Nick was able to spend more time on other interests and activities. He became very involved in Greyfriars Church in Reading where he and his wife, Sue, were married; especially in ‘Tuesday Special’, a weekly event sponsored by Causeway Prospects for the mentally handicapped. Sue and Nick are also drawn into the ministry of All Saints’ Church here in Peppard.
With such strong links to the army it is no surprise that Nick is very active for the British Legion and takes on casework to help and assist veterans. Part of his British Legion involvement is as the local organiser for the Poppy Appeal. He is President for the Royal Artillery Association for the Wycombe District as well as supporting the Help for Heroes campaign.
Nick with his wife, Sue, have lived in Peppard since 1993 and have always taken an active interest in the village. He was recruited onto the Parish Council by Valerie Phelps in 2006 and had to fight an election. Councillors must fund their own election campaigns although an upper limit of £200 is placed upon that expenditure.
The average tenure of a councillor is approximately five years and it came about that several councillors stood down during the first few years that Nick was a councillor. Thus he describes his becoming Chairman of the Parish Council in 2009 as almost by default.
He sees the value of the Parish Council as listening to the community, to experts and advisors and then presenting arguments and influencing SODC, OCC, our MP and also local businesses. He dedicates time to council work most days for which, as an elected member, he receives an allowance of £300 per year. He could claim out of pocket expenses, e.g. for travel, but chooses not to.
He is a devoted family man. As the son of a military man and son-in-law of a medical consultant, it was almost inevitable that his four children have chosen military or medical fields. A source of anxiety is that two of his children have served in Afghanistan and his youngest, Edwyn, is soon to return. Balanced against this was his pride when his oldest, Jason, a medical physicist, appeared on the front page of the New York Times.
His greatest joy in life is having large family gatherings with all his children and wider family present. Indeed his last family holiday was in a ski chalet in the French Alps where most of the family enjoyed skiing while he took the time to indulge his passion for geodesy – the scientific discipline that deals with the measurement and representation of the earth, including its gravitational field, in time and space.
With typical humility, Nick describes himself as a very boring man. This humility is actually part of his charm.