Cllr Ray Hassall
Cllr Ray Hassall was born in West Bromwich and is still a baggies fan but has very little time to go and watch football these days.
From 1960 to 1966 I served in the Army and was in the Royal Corp of Signals serving in Singapore and Germany, I did a very short tour of 3 months at our communications centre in Thailand.
I joined the council in May 1990. During my time of nearly 22 years on the Council I have spent all of it involved in Leisure Services serving as lead member for the group for 10 years followed by 2 years as Chairman of the Leisure , Sport and Scrutiny committee and then followed by 3 years as the Cabinet Member handling a budget of over 65 million. During my time as Cabinet Member I was to re-introduce the half marathon to the city after a gap of over 22 years and this was the first time the Council was actively involved in it. I always believe that you should try to lead by example so I ran the first two to demonstrate that age was not a barrier. My main aim was to get people involved in some physical activity to assist them in living a better lifestyle.
I am fortunate that I enjoy culture of this City so I attend both Ballet and music concerts on a regular basis and also attend many of the athletic events in my role as Ambassador for Sport and Culture.
I feel far too many people in politics do not understand the benefits of culture in opening up a new world to so many people across the region. We also have a major challenge in getting people to get out of their chairs and become active and improve their health. If we fail in this then the cost to get them back to health may soon be a major drain on the finances of the country.