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Punchline Talks! The BiG interview with Tim Gwilliam, leader of Forest of Dean District Council

Watch Punchline's latest The B!G Interview with Tim Gwilliam, leader of Forest of Dean District Council - a position he has held for five years.

Tim Gwilliam is a Berry Hill lad, but now lives just outside of Coleford in the Forest of Dean.

In early 2017 three councillors and himself left the Labour Party and formed 'The Forest First Independent Alliance'. In the July of that year, in what he describes 'a remarkable and astonishing sequence of events', two days after having heart surgery he became Leader of the District Council.

As a young lad he never paid much attention to politics but once he had left school and got a job with a local company, he quickly became trade Unionist. When news of a somewhat controversial purchase of the local leisure centre by Homes England was announced in 2011 and 2012 it encouraged him to get up off the sofa and start trying to do something about it. He wanted to improve the way the council engaged with local communities so their voice could be heard.

After a couple of years on West Dean Parish Council, he stood for election in February 2013 as a Labour Candidate following the death of Cllr Helen Stewart, who happened to be his father's neighbour. He was honoured to win that seat both for Cllr Stewart and his father who was an ex freeminer and had also passed away just months before the election.

Cllr Gwilliam is one of those very few politicians that actually answers a question honestly without the need for waffle and spin. He so obviously loves the Forest of Dean we're pretty sure that if you cut his head off - you could count the rings. He's also got a lot of ideas and drive to help businesses and the local community.

This is a great chat with a local man with the power and passion to make changes and with the council behind him, the drive and enthusiasm to make it happen.

The interview was conducted by Punchline-gloucester.com editor Mark Owen.

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