Conservative Councillor Mike Bawden for Chiseldon and Lawn Ward announced on 27 February that he will not be seeking re-election to the Borough Council on 22 May.
Councillor Bawden, who is standing down for health reasons, said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to represent so many residents of this Borough since I was first elected to Swindon Borough Council in 1967. Over that time, Swindon has changed almost beyond recognition with thousands of new homes and new industries. Where there were fields to the east, west, and north, there are now homes and places to work.
“While the prognosis for my leukaemia is very good, I will not be able to assume the rigours of either ward work or an election campaign. Since I cannot give my constituents the 100% commitment they deserve, I have, with sadness, decided to step away.
“I would like to thank all my colleagues and officers, with whom I have worked over the years.”
Councillor David Renard, Leader of the Council paid tribute to his long serving colleague: “I would like to praise Mike for his four decades of public service to this town, including two terms both as Mayor and as Leader of the Council. I will miss his knowledge, experience, tenacity, and advice.
“Outside his political work, Mike set up the annual Marriott Charity Ball and Swindon Cares. He also played a key role in the Great Ormond Street appeal in Swindon in the late 1980s.
“Some people will have forgotten that in 2003, Mike took over a minority administration running a council that, under his predecessors had been rated one of the worst in the whole country. By 2006, when he stood down as Leader, Swindon was well on the way to recovery. Without the tough but necessary decisions he took then, we would not be the efficient, effective, and economical council that we are today.”
Councillor Bawden was elected as a Freeman of the Borough in April 2006 and served as Mayor of Swindon 2006 to 07 and of its predecessor Thamesdown Borough Council from 1982 to 1983.