How did Councillor Foulkes get the nickname ‘Mad Max’? & ‘Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!”
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COUNCILLOR PHIL DAVIES
Mr Mayor, yes, I move that Councillor Steve Foulkes be elected Civic Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and Mr Mayor, I’m delighted to be here at this wonderful venue to propose Steve Foulkes for the office of Mayor because he is someone that has come from a very humble background to become as he will tonight the first citizen of the Borough and I believe Steve will set an example to all those who aspire to get on in life whatever their standing.
Steve was born in a council house in Upper Brassey Street in the North End of Birkenhead in 1958. He was the youngest of eight children. Steve came from a poor but loving household. His father was a postman, according to Steve although it didn’t pay well it was better than walking the streets and his mother, his mother was a housewife.
Times were hard, Steve says the family could never afford to go on holiday and he remembers the time that his mum had to put his dad’s overcoat into the pawnbrokers to get money to feed the family.
After attending Laird Street Primary School, Steve went to Grange Secondary Modern, which then became Birkenhead Institute. Steve tells me he’s never forgiven his ward colleague Councillor George Davies, because it was George as Chair of the Housing Committee who made the decision to demolish the BI to make way for new housing on this site.
At Birkenhead Institute Steve experienced the first hand benefits of a good comprehensive education, emerging with nine good O’levels as they were then in 1974. Steve then decided to enter the world of work and it’s interesting to contrast the prospects for young people leaving school had in 1974 compared with now because Steve tells me that within a relatively short period of time he had no less than twenty-two job interviews lined up.
He took the first job he was offered which was quality control technician at Spillers Foods on the dock road. From there he went to work at Prices or Uniqema Chemicals as they were later known and in 1983 he started work with Unilver Research where he been ever since occupying various technical roles producing fabric conditioners, soaps and other personal care products.
Politics has been an interest of Steve’s for many years. Steve remembers chasing after people with tannoys during election campaigns when he was a boy. Steve has been a member of the trade union USDAW for thirty-five years and joined the Labour Party when he was just twenty-one. A large part of Steve’s motivation for becoming involved in politics has been a passion to help people from poorer communities like the one he grew up in, to overcome the many barriers they face to achieve their dreams and ambitions.
Steve was elected to Wirral Council in 1990 and has represented Claughton ward ever since then. He’s occupied many roles including Leader, Deputy Leader, Chief Whip and has served on numerous committees including the Police Authority, Waste Authority, he was Chair of the Planning Committee, he’s been Vice-Chair of the Social Services Committee and Chair of Personnel. Steve is currently a member of Merseytravel and a director of Magenta Living housing association.
Steve’s had many interests, various interests besides politics. He tells me he was a keen boy scout and appeared in a Gang Show in 1970 at Gladstone Hall in 1970 where he played Cleopatra, his first stage role. He remembers his opening line in that production to this day and that was “Bless me, it’s Mr. Whippy” as a man with a whip passed in front on him. I’m told he’s been waiting for a chance to deliver this line ever since, but I’m not sure the mayoralty is the best setting Steve for this line.
Kenneth Williams in Carry on Cleo “Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got in for me!”
Steve was also a keen amateur footballer, he was a mean left back and his nickname was Mad Max as he used to take no prisoners when going in for tackles. In the late 1980s Steve went on to manage an amateur team, Heather Brow, who played in Wirral’s Sunday League and in the three years he was a manager the team won a league and cup double. As he enters his mayoral year I know Steve is hoping for similar success will come to his other great football love Everton FC and as Evertonians we live in hope.
Finally I must mention Steve’s other great, I hesistate to call them talents. The first is his absolutely encyclopaedic memory for extremely bad jokes. I was going to reel some of them off tonight, then I suddenly realised probably most of his speech is made up of his jokes so I’d probably better not.
He’s also got two other, I was his deputy for twelve years so I know these things, he’s got two other very unique talents which not many people know about. One is the ablity to play the tune popcorn on his teeth, with a pen or pencil and he does an uncanny impression of the noise of the submarine in the 1960s series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. I’m not sure Steve whether these skills will come in handy in your mayoral year but we’ll have to watch this space. So Mr. Mayor in closing I am proud to call Steve a friend, as well as a colleague. The Steve Foulkes I know is a kind and considerate person.
He has given twenty-four years of loyal service to Wirral Council. He’s been through some difficult times personally but he’s always maintained a sense of humour and his determination to do his absolute best to improve the lives of the people he represents and particularly those less fortunate than himself.
Mr Mayor, Steve and his consort Elaine are an excellent team and I know they will be fantastic ambassadors for Wirral and all of our residents. So, Mr Mayor it gives me great pleasure to move that Councillor Steve Foulkes be elected Civic Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of the Wirral. Thank you.
MAYOR OF WIRRAL COUNCILLOR DAVE MITCHELL
Thank you, is there a seconder for this?
COUNCILLOR PHIL GILCHRIST
Thank you Mr Mayor. I rise to undertake that role this evening. Having regard to the duties and functions of the Mayor as set out in the constitution and I’m confident that as it’s set out where the Mayor will allow different opinions to be fully and fairly presented and debated, then I look forward to that being carried out this year in that spirit.
MAYOR OF WIRRAL COUNCILLOR DAVE MITCHELL
Excellent, are there any other nominations? No? Then we’ll go to the vote. All those in favour please show. All those against. Sorry apologies, start again. Please I was too quick for our attendants. All those in favour please show. OK. All those against. Any abstentions? Thank you. That is clearly passed. Congratulations. I call on Councillor Foulkes.
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