Degree Speeches
Summer 2003

Michael T Jones

Public Orator, Dr Peter Lewis, presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Monday 14 July at 3.00pm.

Michael Thomas Jones - Coun. Mike Jones, as we know him - has spent his life at the heart of our local community. While it's proper we celebrate our international standing, the 'Loughborough experience' includes both our town and the people. We pay tribute to Coun.Jones as one of our most distinguished local citizens over thirty years.

Born in Loughborough in World War II, Mike worked as an architectural draftsmen at Hathernware, then at Herbert Morris as a Engineering Crane Designer, then 17 years at Hawker Siddely Power Engineering. In his youth he won high local athletics awards, played football for Toothill Rangers and Loughborough United - one spectator, Marje, was sufficiently impressed, she married him! He doesn't play football now!

But it is in Local Government Mike has dedicated his life. His is a household name.

  • Member, Loughborough Council from 1971, now Charnwood Borough Council. Opposition Leader 1983-95, Joint Leader of hung/balanced Council 1999-2003;
  • Member, Leicestershire County Council 1970 on, served as Deputy Leader, Chair of Policy & Resources,Chair of Finance,now Deputy Leader of Opposition;
  • Member, East Midlands LGA Executive. Charnwood delegate to LGA National assembly(1995-2003), represented Charnwood at every level of Association of District Councils;
  • Represented Charnwood on E.Midlands Regional Assembly 1998-2001;
  • Governor of two local Primary Schools centred in his Ward.

His Ward is one of incredible cultural diversity and he worked developing Community Centres for our Gujarati, Punjabi, Sikh and Bangladeshi citizens. He assists Voluntary Bodies to form partnerships with Borough/County, is active in Charnwood Community Council, Fearon Hall Community Centre, and Chairs our Community Safety Partnership. It was Mike who initiated the Loughborough Carnival, led the Millenium Celebrations, worked to develop the Mela, was the driving force behind the creation of the award winning Charnwood Museum. In the late 70s, when terraces in Hastings Ward were demolished, he initiated special festivals to say farewell, to celebrate what was passing, and provide a sense of closure for local families living there.

Behind this Official List of achievements lies the fact he's an effective, compassionate Ward Councillor, always gaining the highest vote of any in Elections. It transcends party political boundaries. They're testimony to a man who holds the respect of countless people, not because of Office, but because he has the gift of being a mediator, an enabler for those who find words difficult or who may be overwhelmed by authority - the vulnerable and the dispossessed.

Mike is what the old Icelandic Saga would have called a 'peaceweaver'. He would not claim to be able to cure all ills. His ambition lies in helping individuals appreciate each other and work together, even when they are not and never will be in complete agreement, a man who ensures disputes don't have to bitter or violent. He is a true servant of the public, who has worked on behalf of what many come to discover, through his patient integrity and good humour, may actually be the 'common good'.

Therefore, Chancellor, in recognition of a man who has contributed so much to Loughborough and Charnwood, exemplified distinguished citizenship, and who can honourably be described as a true 'peace weaver', I present to you and the whole Congregation Michael Thomas Jones, for the award of the Degree of Master of Arts, Honoris Causa.

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