Saddleworth councillor speaks out of secret health battle

ONE OF Saddleworth’s most charismatic councillors has talked of his secret struggle against cancer while fighting an election battle.

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John Hudson and his wife Kathleen

Only close family and friends knew the full extent of Cllr John Hudson’s illness which he kept from voters during a hard fought campaign to hold the Conservative seat for Saddleworth South on Oldham council in May.

The 76-year-old councillor and former Mayor of Oldham retained his seat by 11 votes from Liberal Democrat Cllr Alan Belmore.

During the political fight, his battle for his health saw him lose more than two stone in weight and face an ongoing series of stringent tests.

Now, after keeping the real depth of his ordeal under wraps, the colourful councilor, who lives in Greenfield with his wife of 56 years Kathleen, has spoken about his health problems.

The father of two recalled: “I caught a virus and lost a stone and a half in just eight days. I didn’t know what was wrong but I thought it was something more than a virus.

“The doctors did a marvellous job in diagnosing the cancer and confirmed I would have to have my right kidney removed.

“I have nothing but praise for the doctors, nurses and the NHS,” he said. “I spent three days in North Manchester Hospital but I’m not one for popping pills and sitting on the sofa.

“I was determined to get out and about and I’ve only missed one council meeting so far,” he declared proudly.

He added: “Kathleen’s been absolutely marvellous. I still feel tired but I get on with things every day.”

Cllr Hudson has served on Saddleworth Parish Council for 40 years, including spells as chariman, and has spent a lifetime organising popular fundraising events.

And during his mayoral year, Cllr Hudson and Kathleen raised a staggering £56,000 to benefit causes and charities across the borough.

In addition to his roles on the borough and Parish councils, he is chairman of the North West Association of Conservative Clubs and sits on their board in London.

Of his narrow election win, he said: “It’s a nice way to end my political career with a vote of confidence, not a defeat.

“At the moment I think four more years will be enough. I tend to be a bit robust, speak up for people – and get into hot water!”

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