Marathon runner and trolleybus owner: Meeting Stevenage’s new mayor Jim Brown

PUBLISHED: 08:58 27 May 2020

Jim Brown served as a borough councillor for the Old Town ward for eight years. Picture: Jim Brown

Jim Brown served as a borough councillor for the Old Town ward for eight years. Picture: Jim Brown

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New Stevenage mayor Jim Brown was voted in at a meeting of the full council last week, replacing predecessor Simon Speller – but who is Cllr Brown, and what can we expect from this mayoral year?

Jim Brown pictured at the Maidenhead 10k. Picture: Frankie SnellJim Brown pictured at the Maidenhead 10k. Picture: Frankie Snell

Jim served as Old Town councillor for two terms from 2012, but first touched down in Stevenage in December 1992, and began working for Stevenage Borough Council.

“I was made redundant a total of three times – now that’s real life experience for you,” Jim says of his early days working in Stevenage.

Jim’s eye for a campaign was apparent from a precocious age, and in 1969 he was expelled from his local grammar school after giving out leaflets in favour of comprehensive education at the founder’s day service.

In later life, Cllr Brown fought against the poll tax “with a brick mobile phone and tea parties”, and campaigned to keep electric buses in Bradford.

Jim Brown with fellow Fairlands Valley Spartans at the Bedford Half Marathon. Picture: SuppliedJim Brown with fellow Fairlands Valley Spartans at the Bedford Half Marathon. Picture: Supplied

He even owned a trolleybus – the original electric buses – and once sensationally drove a double-decker tram from Fleetwood to Starr Gate.

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After arriving in Stevenage, Jim quickly became a member of the Stevenage Old Town Business and Community Partnership, and has been a governor at Marriotts School for 25 years.

A passionate advocate for cycling, Jim was a board member and charity trustee for Cycling UK for over 20 year, and ran local events such as the Stevenage Start of Summertime Special, and the Stevenage Circular Cycle.

Jim was secretary of the local Cycling UK group until 2019, and continues to be a determined defender of the Stevenage cycleway network.

He is also a coach and press officer for the Fairlands Valley Spartans, and has run 19 London Marathons – boasting a personal best of two hours and 57 minutes.

The theme of this mayoral year is ‘Be Healthy, Be Community, and Be Moving’ – and Cllr Brown is hoping this theme can inspire the town in its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Hopefully we’ll be in a place next Spring to press the reset button and start over,” Jim said.

“I want our town to be healthy; I want us to rediscover that Stevenage community spirit which has been so badly missed, and in another sense, I want to see businesses recover, and get our high street moving again.”

The mayor’s charities for 2020 have yet to be confirmed.


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