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Jim was born in 1952 in Wandsworth

His partner is Penny Schenkel. Penny is originally from Christchurch, New Zealand

He has two children Zander 20 and Melody 17 - they are the great grandchildren of Eric Claxton, Chief Engineer for Stevenage Development Corporation

Jim came to Stevenage in December 1992. Before that he worked for Stirling District Council and lived in Linlithgow (West Lothian).

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; played brass in the Albert Hall (at a concert introduced by Alvar Liddell*); a past secretary of a photographic society and a railway society. He was brought up in the Congregational Church.

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, and was a boilermaker in the London docks. Jim’s sister Jillian is a teacher and entertainer.

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 and for company. He is a determined defender of the Stevenage cycleway network.

He is part of the coaching team and press officer for Fairlands Valley Spartans, has run 19 London Marathons (the best in 2 hours 57 minutes; it would have been his 20 on 26 April), something well over 50 marathons along the way.

The theme for the Mayoral year is Be Healthy, Be Community, Get Moving.

The Mayor will be supporting three Charities

  • Stevenage Community Trust
  • Haven First
  • Sport Stevenage