To those of us in Northfield Constituency Labour Party, he was just “Stan.” You never needed to use his surname; everybody would know who you were talking about. Stan was always there, maybe in more in the background in recent years than he had been before. But always there nonetheless -for advice, for wisdom, for friendship and for reliability in everything he did. Stan died on 22nd July and I think we are all finding it difficult to comprehend that he won’t be with us any more.
Across Birmingham, Stan was perhaps best known for his 19 years as a Labour Councillor in the ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s, and for the range of positions he held on the Council during that time. In recognition of that service he was made an Honorary Alderman in 1992. He was also Governor of Bournville College for many years too, serving as chair through to 2000. For this and so much more, Stan’s MBE was well deserved.
Maybe I ‘m biased but for me, though, Stan’s greatest contributions -and I think his greatest passion- were in his local community of Longbridge. He served local people as their Councillor for nearly two decades and, when the electoral dice finally rolled against him in 1992 he just continued to serve people in other roles. Always voluntary, always thorough, always dependable – whether on the Board of South West Birmingham Community Association, as chair of the South Birmingham Young Homeless Project, through his church, as a Labour activist. There was no pretension or “side” to Stan. He was as committed as a grassroots Labour leafletter and canvasser as he was a senior councillor. He had the respect of political foes as well as the affection of his comrades.
For so many of those years of service, Stan was part of a double act with his late wife, Margaret. So what I said at the start of this piece wasn’t quite right. In those days you didn’t just refer to “Stan”. It was “Stan & Margaret”. The words went together. They were a team. And when Margaret’s health meant she could no longer be as personally active as she once had been and she relied on Stan for so much more, the team was still there. Life changed but Stan just got on with it. He did the same some years later when his own health meant he had to spend hours every week on dialysis.
The words “loyalty” and “public service” were made for Stan. He was a lovely man and a good friend. I will miss him.
Richard Burden MP
Stan’s funeral will be held on Wednesday 1st August, at Our Lady of the Perpetual Succour, Leach Heath Lane, Rednal at 9.30am, and then at Lodge Hill Cemetery and Crematorium in Selly Oak.