Former councillor nominated for Freeman

A former Mayor of Sandwell and one of the most dedicated local councillors has been nominated for the honour of Freeman of the Borough.

Roger Horton was a councillor for 44 years and his interest in transport led him to becoming a nationally-important figure in the field. He was first elected in May 1975 in Soho and Victoria and served as a councillor for 44 years before retiring in May 2019.

Roger served on many committees and was known as an inspirational chairman of the former environment and highways committee. During his time as chairman he played a big part in making the committee a much-respected partner on the environment, and particularly on local train and bus services.

He was Sandwell lead member for transport and was known to be outspoken on the need for improved bus, train and tram services in the area.He was later elected as vice-chair of the West Coast 250 Board, a national group to oversee transport issues.

Mr Horton was Mayor in 1995-1996 and his wife Councillor Linda Horton was Mayor in 2013-14.

As a Smethwick councillor he was known for his interest in education and was a governor at most of the schools in the Soho and Victoria ward, and was until recently chair of the Crocketts Community School.

Mr Horton has supported many voluntary and charitable organisations over the years, including Mencap, who later changed their name to MIND, supporting people with mental health issues. He also served as a volunteer on the Management Committee of Sandwell Adventure Play Association, providing after school activities for children across Sandwell. Leader of Sandwell Council, Councillor Yvonne Davies, said:

“Roger was a most dedicated councillor with a real interest in local people and worked tirelessly for families for more than four decades. His reputation as a transport campaigner was made because he fought to improve the transport links for the people of Sandwell and the wider region.

“He was known throughout the local area, the region and on a national stage for his work as someone who had a special interest and insight in transport matters.”

“Roger also supported so many families through his work on education, children’s services and planning committees and was happy to give up so much of his spare time to local charity groups. He fully deserves to be a Freeman of the Borough.”


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