It was such a positive pleasure to meet Paul Hanningfield and his colleagues. Paul can trace his ancestors back a full five hundred years in that part of the County of Essex. Hanningfield is the very district from which he took his baronial title when he was elevated to the peerage. Lord Hanningfield, however, displays no airs and graces these days. He is the leader of a very large county council with challenges which resonate here too. Essex may once have presented an image of poorly-constructed Ford cars and young ladies more given to frolic than academic fancy. But this is a huge county of varieties. The task for Essex county council is to spend public money wisely. And that's why Paul and his far-sighted colleagues came to talk to us. SouthWest One may be born here in Taunton but we are happy to welcome all customers - especially when led by such a splendid member of the House of Lords! It is easy, when you meet him, to understand why
he was recommended for an honour. His untiring work in the community surely clinched it. Local Government can be a hard and anonymous calling. Perhaps you can think of other such unsung heroes who deserve recognition. Thankfully, these days, anyone can be nominated , even me.