When going to a strange house, I have very rarely received such an effusive, friendly and affectionate greeting as that that I received from Rosie: Tony was very friendly too and laughter comes easily to him. Rosie is the Cotton Family’s pet springer spaniel.
Tony and his wife, Carol, moved to Peppard in the spring of 2005 having spent many years in Australia. Originally from Ruislip, they came to Peppard via Amersham and then Australia. They had always loved the Chilterns area with its mix of beautiful countryside and proximity to London and were delighted when they found their current house in Colmore Lane. Tony had worked for the Hanson Group for 25 years and ended his career as Chairman of their mining business in Australia. They thoroughly enjoyed living in Australia – so much so that they adopted dual nationality. Eventually they decided to return when grandchildren came along: their daughter lives in Henley, their son in Twickenham and in total they have five grandchildren.
With Rosie in tow, Tony finds it very easy to meet and chat to people when he is out. This is how he met Nick Launders, who was instrumental in nominating Tony to lead the Community Plan project. He subsequently joined the council in 2009. Although the Community Plan took a lot of effort, he felt it worthwhile to gauge residents’ opinions. Tony will be coordinating the Council’s Action Plan in due course highlighting what can or might be done (Peppard News will publish the main points).
Tony wasn’t in favour of the Commons grazing project but only because he felt the Conservators had taken the wrong direction. He has now joined the Commons Conservators – as he says, poacher turned gamekeeper!
Now, of course, the council is involved in, and has voted in favour of, the proposal to have a playground. Tony hopes that this project will gain new momentum in the autumn. Of course, he understands that there are many issues to be overcome, not least raising the necessary funds, but he takes his grandchildren to a Henley playground and would really like to have a Peppard facility.
Tony also believes there is an absolute requirement for Peppard to move into the 21st Century with good broadband and mobile services and he is leading the council in progressing this. As Vice Chairman he is happy to take responsibility for special projects but cannot take on any more – he leads a very full life and doesn’t have time for more. He fervently believes that he shouldn’t fulfil a role unless he can give it his all.
Years ago he helped raise funds for the British Heart Foundation, but had never been involved, or particularly interested, in local politics. He certainly understands why younger people rarely become involved – when he was younger he just didn’t have time for any role outside his professional orbit.
But now that he does have a little more time, he enjoys walking and gardening, growing both vegetables and dahlias, but most of all he enjoys travelling. He and Carol have invested in a motorhome and love the freedom of travelling in Europe, taking Rosie along with them. They have retained an apartment in Sydney and manage to return to Australia each year.
In between travelling and council work, he is a keen spectator of all sports and is a passionate Chelsea fan, like his father and grandfather before him. Of course, he loved the Olympics.
I, for one, think that we, in Peppard, are very lucky that Tony does make time in his very busy life for our Council.