This morning I go to St Michael and All Angels Church in Mottram in Longdendale for the funeral service and celebration of the life of Roy Oldham, who for thirty years was leader of Tameside Council, the longest serving Leader in the country, and who represented Longdendale on that council and its predecessor for forty four years in total.
I worked with Roy within AGMA and other Greater Manchester bodies for getting on for two decades and it's fair to say it wasn't always an easy working relationship - largely for one good reason. Roy was absolutely and totally committed to the best interests of Tameside in general and Longdendale in particular and would fight tooth and nail to protect those interests. Anybody who had heard Roy on the subject of the Mottram by-pass would know just how passionate he could be, and in this regard he is a model for any up-and-coming local politician about what being a LOCAL politician really means. At the same time, he was not parochial or inward looking. He recognised the importance of working with other Councils and other partners and was in at the creation of some of the organisations like MIDAS and Manchester Enterprises ( now the Commission for the New Economy ) which have played a major part in the development of the city-region as a whole. He has left a real mark and will be sadly missed.