Finding lost cats – all part of a councillor’s role

The local paper in Banbury, in Oxfordshire, sings the praises of a newly elected Lib Dem councillor, David Hingley. When a note was posted through his door in Bodicote alerting him to a missing cat he set off for a walk round the village. And he found it a few streets away, safe and well, but lost.

The cat’s owner was delighted. David said “I was very pleased to be able to help reunite Poppy with her owner. It’s one of my first acts as a new councillor for the ward. It’s nice to already be giving back to the community after having only been elected two weeks ago.”

Of course, that’s what Lib Dem councillors do. They are embedded in their communities and are well placed to respond to any cry for help. In this case, the cry arrived in the form of a printed note, but it could just as well have been in the village Facebook group. Nothing political, just a simple act of neighbourliness.

I must say that is what I enjoyed most about being a councillor – dealing with very localised and individual problems.

In one case I was phoned by a resident because the bailiffs were literally at the door. Her husband had disappeared, leaving her with debts she knew nothing about. She was in panic mode, so I offered to go with to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, and to a solicitor offering pro bono legal advice, as well as smooth things over with her Council Tax arrears.

On another day I was asked to sort out a drain cover that was rattling so much when traffic ran over it that it was disturbing the timbers in a listed Tudor cottage nearby.

I’m not a councillor any more, but it was natural for our Lib Dem councillors to set up food bank street collection points in their front gardens during lockdown.

So – to all those hundreds of new Lib Dem councillors, enjoy the next four years of service to your communities. There is nothing like it. And you might make some pet owners very happy.

PS. Although I never had to rescue a pet I am reminded of the occasion when someone in my ward called the emergency services to report a cat stuck high up a tall tree. The Fire Brigade couldn’t reach it and had to bring in a very long ladder from miles away. Only to discover it was a squirrel. The Fire Officer commented to the local press “Soon they’ll be asking us to rescue cows from fields.”


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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  • Brenda smith 18th May '22 - 5:50pm

    Titter ye not about rescuing cows from fields. The local fire brigade here was called out a while ago, to rescue ” a horse, stuck in the mud”, in the New Forest. Turns out the”horse” was fine. It was a Shetland pony🙄. With very short legs. Obvs.

  • I realise that you could infer that in the case I mentioned the Council was sending in the bailiffs for Council Tax arrears. That was not the case, and the bailiffs were chasing some private debts that the husband had run up, unknown to her. I can assure you that our Council takes a supportive attitude towards anyone who is having difficulties in paying Council Tax, and I was able to help her access the support she needed with that.

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