ONE of the most popular and jovial characters on St Helens Council is set to retire.
Local Tory leader Wally Ashcroft (pictured) has been a fixture at the Town Hall since the year 2000 but, at the age of 77, is set to step down next month.
Coun Ashcroft was first introduced to politics with Windle Parish Council in the mid 1990s before being elected onto the council. But he says he will remember many of his “smaller achievements” just as fondly as the bigger ones.
Coun Ashcroft said: “There was a guy with terminal cancer who needed re-housing because he was being terrorised by his neighbours. Being able to help him was one of my proudest moments.
“On a bigger scale I was also delighted to be awarded the culture portfolio. I really enjoyed that.
“But that job was also the source of my biggest disappointment. Having revamped and rebranded the St Helens Show, I was very disappointed to see it scrapped.”
Coun Ashcroft also pointed at “giving the voluntary sector a voice” as another of his proudest achievements in office.
He said: “If you take Lowe House Boxing Club, for example, 150 tough young lads are all taught the importance of discipline and respect... by half a dozen volunteers.”
And Coun Ashcroft reckons his ability to tackle an issue head-on without politicising it is the reason he’s made so many friends at St Helens Town Hall.
He added: “I’m too old to be on the council now. I struggle to recall names from time to time and have basically never really retired since I stopped running the pet shop.
“I’m looking forward to spending more time with my grandchildren, more time on my allotment and catching up with friends.”