Higham Ferrers' longest serving councillor steps down after 57 years

Derek Lawson MBE has spent more than half a century in local politics

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 10:53 am
Derek Lawson after he had used some of his Councillor Empowerment money to fund goalposts

Higham Ferrers' longest serving councillor has stepped down after 57 years of service.

After more than half a century in local politics, Derek Lawson MBE decided it was time to call it a day and didn't stand in the elections held earlier this month.

Higham Ferrers Town Council will greatly miss Mr Lawson, who has played a huge part in not only the town's political scene but also as a councillor on both East Northants Council and Northants County Council.

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Derek Lawson at one of the many elections he stood in

A spokesman for Higham Ferrers Town Council said: "In 1964 a young Derek Lawson was elected to the then Higham Ferrers Borough Council.

"He saw the formation of the East Northamptonshire District Council which led to Higham Ferrers becoming a town council.

"Derek is the longest serving member of the town council with over 57 years' service.

"His knowledge of local government is vast, and his experience is second to none, this has proved invaluable to many as he is always on hand to give good, sound advice when needed."

Derek Lawson (right) was involved in the 'Yes to Rushden Lakes' campaign

Derek was a member of East Northamptonshire District Council for more than 20 years, where he was chairman in 1987-88.

He was also a member of Northamptonshire County Council for 40 years and chairman in 2007-8.

Derek was vice-chairman of the Police and Crime Panel which was part of the Northants Police Authority before the position of the police and crime commissioner was created.

Among Derek’s other long list of achievements are chairman of the board of governors at both the Ferrers School and Henry Chichele School.

Derek Lawson on one of the Remembrance benches in Higham Ferrers

He held the position of chairman of the TASH (Towards a Safer Higham) Panel, being involved in the campaigns for “Yes to Rushden Lakes” and he played a big part in the Chowns Mill roundabout improvement scheme.

He was also heavily involved in the preparation of the Higham Ferrers Neighbourhood Plan.

The town council spokesman added: "Derek has been a very well respected mayor of Higham Ferrers on three occasions, and the leader of the council for five. "For all his years of commitment to local government, I am delighted to say that Derek’s work was recognised when he was awarded a well deserved MBE in 2007.

"Very well done Derek, we all hope you can now sit back and relax a little, although you will no doubt 'keep on eye on us' and we know that you will always be there if we need you."

Derek was involved in campaigning for improvements to the Chowns Mill roundabout

Scroll down to see more pictures of Derek over the years from the Northants Telegraph's archive

EDITOR'S NOTE:

Since running this story last week, North Northants Council has confirmed that Derek Lawson holds the record as the longest serving councillor in the county.

The council checked with colleagues at both the new unitary authorities (north and west) and no-one has beaten Derek's achievement of 57 years.

Huge congratulations to Derek!

Derek with pupils at the Ferrers School
Derek has featured in the Northants Telegraph (formerly the Evening Telegraph) over the years
Derek has stepped down from politics after more than 57 years of service