A STALWART Saddleworth councillor was “overwhelmed” to receive a special honour to mark his 40 years’ continuous service to the community.
Cllr John Hudson, who lives in Greenfield with Kathleen his wife of 57 years, reached the milestone in March and celebrated with 135 family and friends at the Civic Hall in Uppermill.
Little did he know that at the special event he would be presented with a beautiful plaque engraved ‘The Hudson Suite’ as the upstairs ballroom is to be named in his honour.
Alongside the plaque, arranged by John Randerson whose company carried out recent refurbishment work in the Civic Hall, is a framed dedication.
Another citation proclaiming John’s long service will be hung in the Council Chamber downstairs, alongside those marking 30 years by Jack Hood and 29 by Charles Hopkinson.
Delighted Cllr Hudson said: “I was overwhelmed. In all my lifetime there have not been many occasions I have been lost for words. I was very emotional.
“When I think of all the people that have done wonderful things for the public life of Saddleworth, it is such a big honour to be counted among them.”
Of the special celebration evening, he added: “It was a great turnout and it meant a lot to me to see people coming from all over, or some who have not been to events for many years.
“I take my hat off to Cllr Pam Byrne and Pam Bailey the clerk for not only making the room look so nice but also getting such a good mix of people for a wonderful evening.”
At the event, tributes were paid to Cllr Hudson by his wife Kathleen, Dr David Atherton, a former Council colleague, and John Battye DL, a former Mayor of Oldham and long-time friend.
Cllr Pam Byrne said: “The plaque was a very well-kept surprise! John was almost speechless but recovered enough to respond. It is wonderful this honour came in my year as Chairman.”
Cllr Hudson’s political career began in 1971 when stood as a Labour councillor before taking a six-year break and moving across to the Conservative Party.
He was elected in 1977 as a Saddleworth Parish councillor – a position he has held ever since – and has also served 15 years and counting on Oldham Council.
Four stints as Saddleworth Parish Council chairman in 1988-89, 96-97, 03-04 and 08-09 is an unbeaten record, during which time he raised £59,500 for the chairman’s charities.
And during his Mayoral year in 2013-14, he raised another £50,468 for charities and good causes across the borough.
Cllr Hudson explained: “I always listened to what my grandma told me – don’t fall out with anyone over religion or politics.
“It is about doing the right thing for Saddleworth, regardless of your beliefs.
“The nicest thing I have done is build up a good connection between the Mayor of Oldham and the Saddleworth Parish Council. You achieve more working together than divided.
“And then becoming the Mayor meant a lot. It just shows what someone from Saddleworth can achieve.”