Former Councillor Gwen Stafford Good –Wednesfield North.
Today I have the sad duty to inform you that my friend former Councillor Gwen Stafford Good recently passed away. She was a very good friend to Wednesfield and had close and very strong links to our community built up over decades.
I recently with Mary visited her at her home. We chatted about old times and the role that she and husband Michael played in our community.
Gwen and her husband Mike Stafford Good were Wednesfield North Councillors and did a great deal for our community and for residents during their terms of Office.
Gwen was a teacher by profession and I first met her when I was a pupil. I attended Wards Bridge High School in 1961 – Gwen Sweetman as she was then, was the French teacher at the school, and she was certainly an eye catcher for those in my year! Rumours whilst I was at the school, suggested that she used to sing at a Night Club in the Town. I later found out that the rumours were of course true. Gwen appeared and sung at the Moonraker Club. Gwen had a super professional career, she left Wards Bridge and taught at Pool Hayes Comprehensive, before retiring as Head at Willingsworth Comprehensive School in Tipton.
Gwen Stafford Good was elected in my Ward of Wednesfield North for the first time in 1991, she beat Conservative candidate Andrew Dawson, Polling 1998 votes and beating Conservative candidate Dawson into second place… Gwen was returned with a handsome majority of 308! Not bad for the first time try at Wednesfield North.
Gwen won three of four elections victories for the Labour Party in Wednesfield North, Mike won one also- All during the Nineteen Nineties. It was an exciting period for Labour .
Plus of course, during this decade Gwen had perhaps the highest accolade the Council can give a Councillor, when in 1998/99 Gwen was elected as the Mayor of Wolverhampton with husband Michael as the Mayor’s consort. I talked with Gwen about that period when Mary and I recently visited. She was very proud of that year. What many will not realise.
That whilst the Mayor has a chain of some grandeur which makes the status very obvious, and the Mayors Mayoress has the most fabulous diamond encrusted chain of Office to match. Michael as a male Consort had no such recognition.
That was altered! The Stafford Goods had a badge made and they paid for that, then they donated the badge to the City. So for ever after , if a Mayor is of female gender, the Mayors Partner/Husband has a badge to recognise his role when representing the city on Official visits. An incredibly generous act, that the City benefits from..
Election Record Wednesfield North
- 1991 Gwen Stafford Good won with – votes 1998 majority 308
- 1995 Gwen Stafford Good won with – votes 2418 majority 1604
- 1996 Mike Stafford Good won with – votes 2015 majority 1060
- 1999 Gwen Stafford Good won with – votes 1392 majority 403
- 2000 Mike Stafford Good lost with -votes 1031 – Matthew Holdcroft 1272 Tory Maj 241
- 2003 Gwen Stafford Good lost with –votes 1208 – Tory won by just 9 votes.The millennium year was in 2000. This decade started with fears that airliners would succumb to the millennium bug! Fall from the skies, computers would crash etc! Everyone was expecting a doom ridden start to the decade….in 2003, Gwen then lost her seat. The Labour Vote had started to erode and polling 1208, to Conservative Candidate David Bourne, who polled 1217 votes. Gwen as was the Labour Party at that time was very upset – at losing the seat by just 9 votes!
- During their role and time spent as a Wednesfield North Councillor – both Gwen and Michael did much good work for our Ward.
- That didn’t happen to the World. But in the Millennium decade disaster did hit Wednesfield North Labour Party. We started to see the big victories of the 90’s start to erode. In 2000 Mike Stafford Good who had joined Gwen and myself as a Councillor for Wednesfield North in 1996 lost to Matthew Holdcroft, a local man standing for the Conservatives in Wednesfield North. The Labour vote was down to 1031.
- However the run of great victories came to a halt when first Mike lost in 2000 then Gwen lost at the end of her 1999 -2003 term of office. The Nineties decade had ended and a new Millennium decade had started.
Gwen Stafford Good when she was first selected and then won her seat in Wednesfield North, so comprehensively in 1991, was full of vim and vigour. She had that Head Mistress aurora of confidence, she often met old pupils, and they even sought her out for a quiet chat! But to me looking on they were always that more respectful to Gwen than they were to me!
During her period here as a Councillor in Wednesfield North, Councillor Gwen Stafford Good was never ignored. Gwen held a number of high profile positions on the Council.
One of the key roles Gwen got appointed to by Council was as Chair of Licensing in Wolverhampton. She served on a whole range of Committees during her time on the Council, Regeneration, Life Long Learning and Transportation panel’s spring to mind.
Gwen had perhaps the highest accolade the Council can give a Councillor, when in 1998/99 Gwen was elected as the Mayor of Wolverhampton. During that time she invited her constituents to join her in the Mayor’s Parlour, and she attended functions and meetings throughout Wednesfield.
In 2003 Gwen was still very active in Education. She was Vice Chair of Wednesfield High School and was very at home in that environment. She was instrumental in the appointment of the Head Teacher at this school Mr Peter Coates.
Gwen not only worked hard locally she made a bit of a name for herself on a Group called Local Actions for Textiles and Clothing this was a national body. This was a group that had been set up to encourage and save as much skills as they could, as at that time low cost garments from abroad were killing the home textile industry.
In October 94, she came back from a meeting in Scotland with LATC where she had been elected as the Vice Chair of this organisation. They represented 6,000 clothing employees, and she informed us at a meeting that clothing then made up 3% of Wolverhampton’s economy. The Ward Party were very proud that one of their Councillors had been recognised in this way.
As anyone who knows anything about the Labour Party will know. Councillors are answerable to their Ward Party organisations. Our Meetings were most often serious affairs. That changed just a little when Mike won the Wednesfield North seat for Labour in 1996.
Both Gwen & Mike gave interesting reports! I don’t think I am giving any secrets away by saying, when Mike became a Wednesfield North Councillor our meetings became that little bit more interesting. Not because they were boring before, but because the dynamic changed, with two Stafford Goods reporting. Not just one! It often created problems for the Chair of the Ward, trying to control them both when there was an item of interest that had both Gwen & Michael vying for the last word!.
Gwen had quickly recognised Paul Bodley as one of her old pupils from Wards Bridge, Paul was and has been for more than 50 years one of the driving forces at Wednesfield Aces.
Paul Bodley had been with the Cycle Speedway Club since its formation. Paul invited Gwen to the Cycle Speedway Club which is a major sporting club here in Wednesfield North (Wednesfield Aces) . Gwen ended up writing an article for the Cycle Speedway Magazine, she was delighted at that time to do so. During her time on the Council representing Wednesfield North, she regularly supported the Aces, in their club development.
In fact in 1996 she was back at the Aces, presenting Trophies to the riders of the Great Britain v Poland International match that had taken place here in Wednesfield at the Wednesfield Aces track in Ashmore Park. I know that she felt that was a great honour for a Local Representative to undertake.
Gwen since she had been elected in 1991, had certainly spread her wings!
She was active in all areas of Wednesfield and Wolverhampton politics . Looking at a Ward Report that she reported on at this time. She commented on that she had met with the Police, the Park User Group, and had been to the Labour Party Conference in Blackpool.
The Blackpool trip was a very special trip to Party conference, Gwen and Mike gathered a couple of Party Members who accompanied them to Blackpool. I am told they had a hell of a time!
Gwen was very popular in Wednesfield, and all sorts of organisations and clubs asked her to attend meetings, speak, and talk about politics, life in and around Wednesfield. Gwen was also a leading member of the local Soroptomist International. In 1994 Gwen was asked to switch the Xmas lights on in Wednesfield, which she did.
So I finish with a paragraph of my own thoughts. Since I have been a member of Wednesfield North. I have worked with a whole range of individual Councillors, all have been different, all have had their own individual style. Gwen and husband Michael Stafford Good made a solid contribution to our Community development. They were a pleasure to work with. They made their mark on our community and I am pleased to have had the chance to say so on these pages.
Both Gwen and Husband Michael are very much part of our Political and Social history, here in Wednesfield, I am very happy to be recording these facts. Rest In Peace Gwen. Both you and Michael gave great service to us!
Councillor Phil Bateman MBE
18th August 2016