A RESPECTED former Mayor of Worcester will wave goodbye to the Guildhall at next month’s elections after 15 years serving the people of St Peter’s.
Coun Roger Knight made the announcement at the final meeting of the council before the May 2 poll last Tuesday (March 26) and told councillors there was nothing he would change about his experiences of representing residents in St Peter’s.
The Conservative councillor was first elected in 2004 and served as Worcester’s first citizen in 2015/16 but admitted his political career wasn’t planned.
“I came into local politics by accident, I didn’t like what the parish council were doing in St Peter’s and I thought I would never be able to convince them to do something different unless I go in and join them,” he said.
After being co-opted onto the St Peter’s Parish Council he rose through the ranks to chairman and said he then found himself frustrated with the city council.
“About the same time there was a boundary review where St Peter’s became a ward in its own right and Robert Rowden (former Conservative councillor) spent quite a considerable amount of time in the pub down the road from the Guildhall convincing me I should stand for the city council.
“I could resolve my issues with the city council by becoming an insider!,” he said.
Over four terms of office, Coun Knight has served as a cabinet member in numerous portfolios, deputy leader and deputy mayor before rising to the city’s top job, much to the initial displeasure of his loving wife Freda.
“Freda was horrified when I told her she had to attend the meeting where I would recieve the chain of office if I was elected mayor because she was going line dancing,” he said.
“She didn’t want to be the mayoress but it was quite funny by the end of the year she was joining in more and more and that was wonderful for me as it showed how much she began to enjoy the role. Tears came to her eyes when she had to take the chain off and hand it over,” he added.
“I hadn’t realised what I was getting into but I have thoroughly enjoyed it, I’ve met some wonderful people and had some incredible experiences,” he added.
Current Mayor of Worcester Coun Jabba Riaz praised Coun Knight and said “No amount of words can do justice to his effort and contribution to this council, he has been a valuable member of this chamber and a great servant to this city.
“He has been a personal friend my family and a father figure to me personally.”
Council leader Marc Bayliss said the respected councillor and ‘Mr St Peter’s’ deserved praise for a ‘job very well done’.
“No issue is too big or too small for Roger, he is a man who has championed and delivered so much for this city,” he said.
“He is one of the very few people who can reach out across party lines and make common cause with people of all political views.
“I will miss Roger as a colleague, the Conservative Party will miss him as an activist, this council will miss his wisdom and energy and the people of St Peter’s and indeed Worcester will miss his commitment and dedication to get the job done,” he added.