A COUNCILLOR and tireless fundraiser who is battling a life-threatening muscle wasting disease is preparing to step down from public life.
On Friday, with “deep regret and sadness”, Cllr Mike Findley said that ill health was forcing him to give up his position on Redcar and Cleveland Council.
In 2005, the highly regarded politician was told that he had between two and five years to live after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
He immediately threw himself into fundraising and vowed to continue serving his community as an independent councillor, going on to raise more than £192,000 for MND research through the Mike Findley MND fund and being awarded the MBE for his efforts.
Last year, he called for a change in the law to allow for assisted dying, saying he wanted the right to die in dignity and feared becoming entombed in his body through MND.
Throughout his fundraising efforts, the Marske man continued to represent those living in the Longbeck ward on Redcar and Cleveland Council, where he served as a councillor from 2003 until 2011 and was re-elected in 2015.
Announcing his retirement from the role, Cllr Findley – originally from London – said: “It is with deep regret and sadness that today I have informed the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer of my decision to stand down as a local councillor due to ill health.
“I would like to thank fellow councillors, officers and staff for their kindness, help and support during my time as a councillor and I would also like to thank the people of Marske and New Marske for giving me the opportunity to represent them – it was an honour and a privilege. I’ve enjoyed being part of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, especially my year as Mayor in 2008 to 2009.”
Cllr Findley has vowed to work with his “very strong team to” continue fundraising through The Mike Findley MND Fund.
A by-election for the Longbeck ward will be called following Cllr Findley’s retirement from public life but a date is yet to be set.
For more information about Motor Neurone Disease, visit mndassociation.org and the Mike Findley MND Fund at mikefindleymndfund.com
For more information about the upcoming by-election, visit redcar-cleveland.gov.uk.