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3rd Dec, 2021

Council mourns passing of former Leader and Sambourne councillor

Redditch Editorial 4th Feb, 2021

THE former Leader of Stratford District Council Les Topham has died.

Mr Topham served the residents of Sambourne as a district councillor from 1996 to 2010, led the authority from 2005to 2010 and was chairman from 2001 and 2002.

He died on Tuesday, February 2.

During his time on the district council he served on a number of committees before becoming deputy leader in 2004.

He took over the leadership of the Council in 2005, following the resignation of Chris Saint and helped drive improvements across the Council.

This included the rating of ‘Good’ for the Council Comprehensive Performance Assessment from the Audit Commission in 2007.

Mr Topham was also the driving force behind the World Class Stratford project which was a multi-million pound development of the Waterfront in Stratford-upon-Avon.

He was very proud of the district and once rigorously defended a stinging attack on the character of the town from Germaine Greer in 2007 as ‘inaccurate’ and ‘misleading’.

A larger than life character and whilst he was a strong Conservative, he was respected for his straight talking and dry wit.

Born in Birmingham, he spent most of his career at British Leyland, before running his own successful garden centre in Mappleborough Green near Studley.

Married to Gill, he included collecting Jaguar cars, playing the piano and organ as his hobbies.

District council chair Coun Tony Dixon said: “I joined the Council 12 months after Les and worked with him until we both stood down in 2010.

“He was rightly proud of his achievements and of our district and during his year as our Chairman took the opportunity, at his own expense, to visit America and publicise the delights of our district.

“The downside was that his visit coincided with 9/11. Our thoughts at this time are with Gill, his family, and their many friends.”

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