A legendary Saddleworth councillor has been made an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
Cllr John Hudson, who serves on Saddleworth Parish and Oldham Council, is honoured for his public, political and charitable services in the community over 40 years.
Accepting the honour, Cllr Hudson – who celebrated his 78th birthday on Christmas Eve – highlighted the contributions other people have made to enable him to make his mark on local life.
“I realise that I am only a flag bearer – you can’t do public service unless you are backed by the public,” he said.
“My wife, Kathleen, my family and the people of Saddleworth and at all kinds of local organisations and group are the ones who really deserve an award.
“I simply couldn’t have done any of the things I have without their support and understanding, so the praise goes to them.
“I thought I was too old for this sort of thing to be honest, so I was very shocked when I found out about it and checked it was right!
“There have been many people who have made fantastic contributions to Saddleworth and Oldham and have gone without recognition like this, so for me to be given an OBE at this time in life is humbling.”
Cllr Hudson was born in Mossley and worked at Joseph Clare’s Dyeworks in Greenfield during the 1950s. It was there that he met his wife to be, Kathleen, before moving to Greenfield when they married in 1960.
He worked in local government at Mossley, Audenshaw and Trafford Councils before managerial roles at Littlewoods, based at Earl Mill in Hathershaw.
He first entered local politics in 1971, initially standing as a Labour councillor. After a six-year break he switched to the Conservative Party and in 1977 was elected as a Saddleworth Parish councillor – a position he holds to this day.
Cllr Hudson was also elected as representative for the former Saddleworth East ward on Oldham Council from 2002 to 2006. From 2008 he served as a Chadderton Central ward member before coming back to represent Saddleworth South from 2012 onwards.
He was also the agent for Geoffrey Dickens, the former MP for the (then) Littleborough and Saddleworth seat and stood in the high-profile three-way marginal by-election following Mr Dickens’ death in 1995.
Cllr Hudson became Mayor of Oldham for the municipal year 2013/4 and – accompanied by Kathleen as Mayoress – they put in a staggering amount of energy and time into hosting visits, attending local schools and engagements.
They raised a total of £50,468 for local charities and good causes, including the Terence O’Grady Social Club, Christie’s at Oldham, Oldham Music Centre, Oldham Support Group for Carers in Autism, Oldham Theatre Workshop and the Oldham Liaison of Ex-Servicemen Fund.
Cllr Hudson, who has two daughters, Claire and Deborah, and one granddaughter, Courtney, received a special honour to mark 40 years’ continuous service on Saddleworth Parish Council in 2017.
He has served four spells as Chairman and in his unbeaten record for continuous service has raised a further £59,500 for the Chairman’s charities.
This remarkable feat was marked with an event at the Civic Hall, where the ballroom has been renamed ‘The Hudson Suite’ and there is a framed dedication hung in the Council Chamber.