The Newbury Weekly News very kindly published the following letter from me in a recent edition. I reproduce it here in case it is of interest to a wider readership:
Through your columns, I’d like to pay warm tribute to the extraordinary contribution to the Liberal Democrats and West Berkshire which David Rendel has made over an unprecedented 28 years as our local parliamentary candidate or MP (that, of course, includes time during the existence of our predecessor party).
It’s difficult to know where to begin. On a personal level, towards thousands of local people, David has shown consistent kindness, generosity and, yes, downright niceness. Many have shared remarkable acts of unsolicited kindness which David and his family have shown towards those who are sick, grieving or in need. David has often gone out of his way to take home an aged supporter, to console someone who has lost a loved one, to help with the washing up at gatherings, or to provide practical help to someone who was homeless.
What is absolutely breathtaking about David is the long hours he has spent pounding the pavements in West Berkshire in all weathers, calling on local people; as well as hours spent on letters, casework etc. He has never stinted in his super-human efforts over three decades.
I have often asked myself “Why does he do it?” – why does he relentlessly spend innumerable hours working on local and political matters? I am sure he has, and has had, alternative “cushy numbers” open to him. But he has not taken those opportunities because he has been devoted to the simple hard work of a local candidate. That, in itself, is testament to his unimpeachable credentials as a real, true “Liberal” and “liberal”.
The answer to the question “why does he do it?” is, I believe, two-fold. Firstly, David genuinely enjoys the contact with local people and issues. Secondly, it is clear that David and his family have, exceptionally, geared their entire lives towards helping others. That sounds like a cliché, but all the mind-boggling, staggeringly vast amounts of hard work that David has put in for West Berkshire and the Liberal Democrats is testament to its simple truth.
* Paul Walter is a LibDem activist in Newbury, Berkshire and blogs at Liberal Burblings