Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has praised Dr James Shera for his 40 years of dedicated service to Rugby.
Friends, family and colleagues gathered on Friday to celebrate with the former Rugby mayor.
The former PM sent a video message saying: “Thanks for your public service.”
During the event at the Benn Partnership Centre, Dr Shera was entered as the first Distinguished Fellow on Rugby Labour Party’s Roll of Honour.
Speakers included past mayors of Rugby, and people who have known Dr Shera since he first arrived in Rugby.
They spoke about his remarkable career, and his passionate commitment to equality and community cohesion locally, nationally and internationally.
Dr Shera stepped down from his role as borough councillor for Benn Ward in May 2022.
“His experience and good counsel are missed by us all in the Council Chamber,” said Cllr Barbara Brown, Chair of Rugby Constituency Labour Party.
“We are so proud of him and what he has achieved, and we are delighted he’s accepted the Distinguished Fellowship award.”
Labour Leader Keir Starmer wrote a heartfelt letter of thanks for the dedication Dr Shera has shown to the Labour Party.
Keir wrote: “I am delighted and proud that the Labour party has members like you. I wanted to put on record the Labour Party’s gratitude – and my own – in recognition of your forty years’ unbroken service as a Labour councillor in Rugby.”
He added: “For many years you led the Labour Group on Rugby Borough Council with distinction, obtaining international honours and titles, but most importantly improving the day to day lives of residents in your ward. Your leadership, loyalty and commitment are a wonderful legacy and a lasting example to all local Labour councillors, both at home and around the country.”
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent a video praising his dedication to social justice and community issues in Rugby and beyond during a long and influential career. In the video, Gordon Brown said: “I know your newly elected colleagues alongside your sitting colleagues, hold you in the highest esteem as we do in the Labour Party nationally, and we know you will play a big part in the next mission, winning back the seat. Thanks for your public service.”
Rugby’s Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Maggie O’Rourke said: “I have known James Shera for 38 years, during which time I have come to count on him as a dear friend and trusted colleague. He has always been there for me, as he has for so many people, to offer shrewd advice and practical help. As councillor for Benn Ward for 40 years, James was a towering figure in our community and his positive impact across the Ward and beyond is immeasurable. It’s typical of James that at an event celebrating his career, his speech was mainly him praising others. All in politics have a lot to learn from James Shera.”