Health scare forces Wisbech stalwarts Mike and Virginia Bucknor to retire from local government
Two of the area’s longest-serving councillors have announced their retirement from local government when the elections are held this May.
Councillors Mike and Virginia Bucknor, who have represented Wisbech Waterlees Ward for a total of 12 years, made the initial decision last year, but were re-considering standing because of a groundswell of support from voters.
However, a shock cancer diagnosis for Mrs Bucknor two weeks ago finally made their minds up and they will not be seeking re-election this spring.
Mrs Bucknor said: “I have got some serious treatment ahead of me, including surgery, and so we decided we need to concentrate on that, rather than anything else at the moment.
“We have had a lot of people ask us if we are standing again, but we had already decided last summer that we would step down.
“With all the support we did begin to think about changing our minds, but then I was diagnosed with bowel cancer with complications last week, so that made the decision for us.
“We have been very proud to have served the people of Waterlees. It has not always been easy and we are sorry we have not been able to achieve everything we hoped for.
“We are particularly sorry that we failed to get the 20mph speed limit for our area. We are also sorry we couldn’t get the Mount Pleasant Chapel refurbished and made multi-use because of opposition from Conservative councillors, who we believe put party politics ahead of the community.
“But we are very pleased that we were able to help many families and individuals with a wide spectrum of problems – that has been very rewarding.
“We have also got our streets improved and supported residents’ campaigns in our park homes sites. Most recently we have had the success of the sharps boxes campaign which forced Fenland to reconsider charging for the disposal of needles.
“We were also proud of the success with the A1101 Gypsy Bends campaign and we are delighted that only this week the new skate park in Bath Road has been officially opened.”
Mrs Bucknor has also been a driving force with the Rainbow Savers Credit Union and again she will be stepping back from that to concentrate on her health.
Now the couple are hoping to encourage others to step up and stand as independent councillors in the hope of removing politics from local government.
“It is a very rewarding, if a sometimes frustrating, job.
“We firmly believe that there should not be party politics in local government and that decisions should be made for the benefit of the community.
“And while we hope to see independents taking our place, we really hope that whoever is elected to replace us will be genuine and decent, caring councillors, whatever their political persuasion.
“If anyone is considering standing, we will be happy to give any support and advice.”