Chairman’s tribute to the community

County Council Chairman Bill Chapple OBE has paid tribute to those in the voluntary, civic, business and community sectors, for their contribution to Buckinghamshire life during his year in office.

His tribute came at a reception on Wednesday (May 4)for more than 250 a few weeks before he hands the chain of office to successor Chairman Val Letheren.

Bill told guests at thegathering, hosted at the Halton House courtesy of RAF Commanding Officer Adrian Burns, of the privilege he felt at being able to serve the county during the year: 130 engagements ranging from royal visits to local charity events.

He said his whirlwind year of engagements had marked several anniversaries: a special Citizens’ Ceremony at Taplow Court with the Duke of Gloucester to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, a garden party at Waddesdon Manor to celebrate 100 years of the Women’s Institute, and a church service at St Mary’s,Aylesbury, to mark the Queen’s90th birthday.

But there was a sober note.He told guests hisbusy year as Chairman would not have been possible without a liver transplant in 2013 thanks toa donoraged 50 who had died from an aneurysm.

Bill, who sufferedan unusual form of cirrhosis of the liver 12 yearsago, said: ‘I was so near death that I was not expected to survive.My thanks go to all who wished me well and prayed for me, to my wife Sue and family who worked like Trojans to manoeuvre me back to life, and to my donor lady who gave me my life back.’

The Chairman appealed to his guests to sign up to be organ donors.

During the evening, the RAF Halton Clarinet Quartet provided music and a C17 Globemaster transport plane made a special fly-past.