Councillor Ray Hassall
1943 – 2017

It was with great sadness that Birmingham Trees for Life and the Birmingham Civic Society learned of the untimely death of Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Ray Hassall, who was until recently a Trustee of the Civic Society and was a founder member of Birmingham Trees for Life.

Councillor Hassall’s commitment to the Society was recognised at the last AGM when Ray stood down as a Trustee. The Lord Mayor, Councillor Carl Rice, the current President of the Society, paid tribute to Councillor Hassall’s service to the Birmingham Civic Society and made a presentation to him on our behalf.

Ray was a Leisure Services “man” throughout his political career and was for many years Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Leisure Services. In recent years he led the Council’s Scrutiny Committee for Leisure and subsequently became Cabinet Member for Leisure Services.

In the last municipal year, Ray became Lord Mayor of Birmingham, a position he was immensely proud of, and in his inimitable way, made sure the mayoralty reached out to ordinary Birmingham people. We were privileged to have him attend a number of Civic Society and Trees for Life events during his year of office, including planting Trees for Life’s 50,000th tree. We were also honoured to have Birmingham Trees for Life nominated as one of the Lord Mayor’s Charities during Ray’s year of office.

Ray also had a passion for trees and tree planting, and he particularly felt that schoolchildren and communities needed to be involved in tree planting, and that businesses and commercial interests should be encouraged to become involved in trees and tree planting. This led to Ray, through a Scrutiny of trees which he led, to work with Council Officers to create Birmingham Trees for Life as part of the Birmingham Civic Society. Since it’s inception it has planted nearly 70,000 trees over the last 11 years, involving some 5,500 schoolchildren, and 5,200 adults.

As a long-term friend of Ray, and as current Chairman of his beloved Birmingham Trees for Life, I am honoured to say a few words following Ray’s passing. He will have left his own mark on Birmingham’s Leisure Services, and his legacy of Birmingham Trees for Life will genuinely ensure Birmingham has a greener future.

Councillor Ray Hassall, former Lord Mayor and Trustee of the Birmingham Civic Society; RIP.
Geoff Cole
Chairman, Birmingham Trees for Life and Trustee of Birmingham Civic Society