I was really sorry to learn today that Labour Councillor for Whitley Cllr Jim Hanley had passed away . My thoughts are with his family and friends.
When I was first elected in 2006 Jim went out of his way to be friendly to me in what was an otherwise pretty hostile political environment. This signalled to me early on that he was his own man and not a party hack.
We got to know each other better as fellow South Reading councillors working together to find solutions to crime problems facing the community on the South Reading Safer Community Forum.
As a well-respected Chair of Planning Committee Jim was always supportive in my ward work - squeezing in residents who wanted to speak out on issues at the last minute and taking a close interest in local planning issues, knowing how important these are to residents and councillors.
In addition to his busy role as a councillor Jim recently trained to be a social worker - another role in which he hoped to serve the public. Given the long hours he put into being a councillor it is a tribute to him that he took on such a role.
A person with a very generous spirit, Jim and I shared a deep commitment to help the worst off particularly on issues relating to health and social care. On CCEA Scrutiny Panel and HHCC Scrutiny Panel we worked together closely on a number of scrutiny reviews including an excellent one on the impact of alcohol.
A great loss to Reading, Jim will be much missed.