At The Parishioner we love getting to know our neighbours!
Lovely to meet you John, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hi, lovely to meet you also. I have been married to my wife Emily for 11 years and we have a young family keeping us on our toes. I enjoy socialising and am the kind of person that likes to keep busy. I like music, theatre, movies, and getting outside, especially when the sun is shining. I often help a local amateur dramatics group based in Woking which is always great fun as it’s totally different from my day job, but you certainly won’t find me on stage! I am the Deputy Chairman of Ash Parish Council where I also serve as the Chairman of The Amenities, Finance and Administration Committee and the Events working group.
How long have you lived in the area / what brought you to Ash Vale.
I moved into Ash Vale in 2011 having grown up in Farnborough. I have always been local to the area. Although I mostly work from home, I do sometimes need to travel for work and having the excellent local transport links really helps. We also love the local green spaces and canal, and it’s an ideal place to bring up our children.
What do you love about Ash Vale / what motivates you to be a parish councillor?
I did not overly appreciate it until I moved in, but I value the fact that we are still living in a village. We have a very strong community and I love that about Ash & Ash Vale. I have always been very community minded, and I feel that being a Parish Councillor is a good way for me to engage and help our community. There is no rule book on how to be a councillor but as each year passes, I feel my contribution is more valuable. I help organise several events within the village as part of the council working group. I love seeing people enjoy these events, however the event that makes me the proudest is seeing the ever-growing attendance for Remembrance Sunday. Whilst this was not possible this last year, I know the community was there in spirit, and I felt a great sense of pride just being involved.
What do you do to relax?
I am one of those people that can’t sit still. I like to keep busy and looking after our two young children certainly does that! I very much enjoy the local green spaces, such as our local parks, nature reserves and the Ash Ranges. I am deeply saddened by the closure of part of the ranges, as I’m sure we all are. My family has greatly enjoyed walking and learning to cycle in those areas over the years. Following the recent council meeting, members of the Parish Council and Save Ash Ranges Group agreed to write a letter to escalate the matter further. I am pleased to see everyone working together to Save Ash Ranges. When not out and about and once the kids are in bed, I like nothing better than a good movie with no distractions and to escape for an hour or two, however nothing quite beats a cup of tea standing outside enjoying the Ash Vale sunshine.
How has covid affected what you do?
I am an IT worker and have been working from home for almost nine years now so in that regard my home office has not changed. However, as I work in the health sector, it has been quite stressful, as you might imagine, but I find the work very rewarding and I know most workplaces will have been equally as stressful of late. Our oldest son is at school and the novelty of home-schooling has well and truly worn off as I am sure many would agree. My wife deserves the credit for home schooling, but I try and take a lesson or two a week as and when I am able. I do however feel we are spending more quality time as a family, and we are now closer to our neighbours than we have ever been. Our youngest was born 3 weeks into the first lock down in April 2020, so it has made us extremely cautious and we have spent a lot of time shielding. I am very grateful to have a garden to enjoy.
What are your hopes (or ambitions or goals) for 2021?
I am a glass half full kind of person and I wish to continue to make positive changes where possible. In that regard my hope for 2021 is to better manage my work / life balance and to do the small things well.
If you’d like to get in touch with John:
John.Tonks@ashpcsurrey.gov.uk 07754 679296
If you have a nomination for our next “meet the Local” please get in touch with The Parishioner on 07730 609446 firstname.lastname@example.org