Gosport councillors decide against fighting for seats in election
FOR years they have served the people in their communities but five councillors have now decided not to stand for re-election.
Four Conservatives and one Labour councillor in Gosport will not be fight for their seats next month.
Councillors Bob Forder, Keith Gill, Michael Geddes, Peter Langdon and Diane Searle have served on Gosport Borough Council for a combined total of 61 years.
Cllr Langdon, who is Tory representative for Hardway, has been a councillor since 1999.
He said: ‘I am 77 now and if I got re-elected, that is another four years.
‘I thought I would have a few years to do some of the things I have wanted to do.
‘It is sad stepping down but it has been a fantastic experience.
‘I worked with a terrific team and we have achieved an awful lot in the last 17 years.’
Fellow Tory councillor Keith Gill, who represented Privett, is stepping down for similar reasons.
He was a councillor for 11 years between 1999 and 2010 and was re-elected in 2012.
Cllr Gill also served as mayor twice, times which he says were brilliant.
‘It was a great honour being mayor,’ he said. ‘I enjoyed that and I got to know the town so well meeting so many people.’
Cllr Gill added: ‘I’m at the age now where I think I should step aside for the younger generations.
‘If I served another four years, I would have been 78 by the time I was done. There are a lot of younger people with fresh minds who can take my place.’
For Labour’s Cllr Searle, the decision to not stand means she can spend more time with her family.
She first became a councillor in 1998 for four years before being elected again for the Town ward in 2007. She said: ‘I’m very family-orientated and I enjoy looking after my grandchildren.
‘It would be good to spend some quality time with the family.’
Cllr Searle was also a mayor and she and her husband Ken were the first couple to both be mayors in Gosport.
She added: ‘I will miss being a councillor. I enjoyed being mayor and helping out in the community with Councillor June Cully.’
Both Cllrs Forder and Geddes were elected in 2008 for the Anglsey ward and Bridgemary South ward respectively.
Leader of the council Mark Hook thanked the councillors for their service.
Speaking about Cllr Forder, he said: ‘Bob was the conscience of the council and made the role of chairman on the overview and scrutiny panel his own.
‘All of them can be proud of what they have achieved for Gosport.’