AGM "tour de force" from Sir John

It was summed up succinctly by re-elected Chairman Jacques Arnold, Sir John's speech to members was a "tour de force" ranging over his forty years as the constituency's much-loved and respected MP.

Sir John recounted his campaigns and battles, the successes such as the saving of Trottiscliffe School, the dualling of the A21 and the building of the Hale Street Bypass to those still hard-fought and ongoing such as the campaign for the Borough Green Bypass, the improved Leigh Barrier (to protect Tonbridge from further flooding) and that against the expansion of Gatwick Airport. His attention to detail and very personal relationship with the people of Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling came through strongly, members recalling numerous doorstop conversations where support for Sir John transcended simple party affiliation.

Ever generous, Sir John passed on the baton at the AGM to Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Tom Tugendhat, introducing Tom as "the pick of the bunch" and congratulating members on their choice of Conservative candidate. Tom responded with warmth and appreciation, recognising Sir John as "a hard act to follow" but in a short and personal speech demonstrated just why Sir John's legacy is in such safe hands.