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Jim was born in 1952 in Wandsworth

His partner and current Deputy Mayoress, is Penny Schenkel. Penny is originally from Christchurch, New Zealand

Jim has two children Zander 23 and Mel 20 - they are the great grandchildren of Eric Claxton, Chief Engineer for Stevenage Development Corporation. Zander got a first class degree at the University of Hertfordshire and Melody (Mel) is two years into her course at Reading.

Jim’s mum was a nurse from before the NHS and during the war including at Mile End hospital and the Norfolk and Norwich. She was from Oulton Broad and her father worked on a Lowestoft drifter, LT7 the Shepherd Lad.

Jim’s dad was called up in 1939, went into the RAF and became a “sparky sergeant” working on things like radar and early forms of automated take off and landing. Later he also worked in the NHS.

Grandfather on dad’s side lived in Plumstead, on one of the last original tram routes in London, and was a boilermaker in the London docks. Jim’s sister Jillian is a teacher and entertainer.

Jim came to Stevenage in December 1992. Before that he worked for Stirling District Council, helped to demolish the poll tax and lived in Linlithgow (West Lothian). He’s been a teacher and worked for the NHS and British Steel.

Jim is the only member of Stevenage Labour Party to have been defeated by the SNP' he once owned a trolleybus (the original electric buses) and drove a double decker tram from Fleetwood to Starr Gate. He played brass in the Albert Hall (at a concert introduced by Alvar Liddell), was a past secretary of a photographic society and a railway society. He was brought up in the Congregational Church.

Jim was around in the sixties and remembers them. He still has loads of vinyl.

He has been a governor at Marriotts School for 29 years, is a former chair of Stevenage Unison, was a board member of the Hertfordshire Sports Partnership and was Deputy President of the University of Bradford Union and NUS Secretary at Southampton.

Jim was a board member and charity trustee for Cycling UK for more than 20 years; launched and ran local events like the Stevenage Start of Summertime Specials (SSoSS); Emitremmus and the Stevenage Circular Cycle and was secretary of the local group until 2019. He is a passionate advocate of cycling for transport; for health; for sport, for company and the environment. He is a determined defender of the Stevenage cycleway network.

A frequent park runner, he is part of the coaching team and press officer for Fairlands Valley Spartans. He has run 23 London Marathons (the best in 2 hours 57 minutes) and something well over 60 marathons along the way. This year he ran the London Marathon raising money for the Mayor’s charities.

Way back in 1988 Jim just missed out on a national championship medal with fourth place and 246,980 miles in the Scottish twelve hour cycling championship.

Jim was the Mayor of Stevenage during the pandemic.

The theme for the Mayoral year is Come Together.

Jim will be supporting 3 charities and good causes: