Brian Rigby CBE

We say a fond farewell to Brian Rigby, (no, he’s not dead!) who, together with his wife Ann, has moved closer to their family in Essex.

Brian moved to Shipton over 19 years ago after a lifetime in senior management. He was Commercial Director of BT and Director of Civil Procurement in HM Treasury. He received the CBE for his work in the Civil Service which included dodging flying ashtrays courtesy of a mild mannered Gordon Brown.

Brian joined Shipton Parish Council in 2008 and served several roles, but mainly the poisoned chalice of planning, eventually becoming Chairman in 2018. He had several solid achievements during his tenure, including securing funding for the village via the s.106 developer’s grant money and the Tesco grant. He was instrumental in obtaining the generator at New Beaconsfield Hall and has tried his utmost in the unenviable position of keeping everyone happy with planning and defence of the Conservation Area.

He has a very dry sense of humour which he brought to the Council and was ever the voice of reconciliation and restraint, especially in spending money! His strong sense of purpose was fun to watch sometimes as he attempted to steer numerous meetings back on track as they headed into ‘the realms of fantasy’.

Lately, he led us through the great flood of 2020 which necessitated the evacuation of Prebendal House and the welfare of the residents.

Perhaps his greatest achievement, and one that I will always cherish, was his surprising proficiency in IT skills, which he showcased to great effect during our lockdown video conference meetings. Many a meeting was started by a gloriously disembodied voice saying ‘can anyone see me?’. He had an uncanny knack of confusing the mute and camera button. I still don’t think he’s got his head around the virtual waiting room.

It would be remiss of me not to mention his gavel, which he proudly displayed on his first meeting as Chairman, stating that he would use it to enforce strict time limits on each subject so no meeting would surpass 9:00 p.m. Later that evening as we missed the pub closing time, the Parish Clerk went full ‘Jackie Weaver’ and banned the gavel!

So, we wish him, Ann, Tom, his son, and their family all the best for the future. Brian was at pains to acknowledge their support and help at home as he worked with the Council. I remember his friendly welcome to us on our arrival in the village at the Monday coffee morning at which he was a regular. He was extremely well respected and liked on the Council.

I will miss him as ‘our leader’, but more importantly, as a good friend.

Tim Brunsden

December 2021 – January 2022