On Saturday, 31 July 2004 Mrs Susan Morris officially renamed Eastrop Community Centre in memory of her late husband, Roger.
Councillor Brian Gurden, Leader of the Borough Council says, “I always had the utmost respect for Roger. He performed the official opening ceremony for the centre in 1998 and I am sure he would be very proud that we have renamed it in his honour. I nominated Roger to be given the Freedom of the Borough in recognition of his outstanding contribution to civic life and community involvement. Sadly, Roger passed away before this was possible. Basingstoke and Deane has indeed been very fortunate in having been served by such a man dedicated to improving the quality of life of those around him”.
As a well-respected local businessman, owner of Roger Morris and Company Insurance Brokers, he was actively involved with the Insurance Institute, the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club.
He was first elected as Eastrop ward councillor in 1966 and continued to serve for over 30 years. Between 1970 and 1971, Mr Morris was the Mayor of the old Borough Council. During Mr Morris’ lengthy political career, the Council underwent many changes. Following a national reorganisation of Local Government, Basingstoke District Council came into being in 1974. Four years later, Her Majesty the Queen granted a Charter conferring the title of “Borough” to the Council. It was renamed Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to represent the largest and smallest settlements within the boundary and to reflect the link between town and countryside.
Mr Morris was once again honoured as Mayor of the new Council between 1981 and 1982. In this decade he was also elected Deputy Leader of the Council, Chairman of the Leisure Services Committee and member of the Policy Committee.
The respect and high esteem in which Mr Morris was held was evident when he was elected as Mayor for a third time in 1997.
Mr Morris’ dedication went beyond his duties as Councillor and Mayor. He was committed to helping all members of his community, especially young people. He was a Governor at Fairfields Primary School for over thirty years, a founder member of Basingstoke Youth Action Trust and closely involved with Basingstoke Youth Committee and Scout Council.
He was Chairman of the Basingstoke Community Health Council and a member of the Road Safety Council for 32 years. He was also President of Basingstoke Arthritis Care Committee.
His musical tastes led him to be President of Basingstoke Silver Band and Vice Chairman of the town’s Music Festival.
Mr Morris expressed his interested in all sports through his work as President of Basingstoke Jubilee Swimming Club and Chairman of the District Sports Council. An ex-football referee, he was also a keen supporter of Basingstoke Town and Reading Football Clubs.
The Roger Morris Centre is under new Management, Helping hands for the blind, a local charity in Basingstoke.
The charity was asked by BDBC to manage the community centre on behalf of BDBC and the local community.
Helping hands for the blind was founded by a local blind man, who today is the current Chairperson, along with a number of visually impaired and sighted people making up the charity trustees.
Helping Hands for the blind eliminate social inequalities by Providing help, advice and support for the blind, visually impaired, their families and carers. This can help to maintain their independence and improve the quality of their lives.
We design, develop and deliver activities that benefit the blind and visually impaired community in the Basingstoke and surrounding areas.
Whatever someone’s race, religion, age, gender, physical ability or sexual orientation, services should be accessible to all and of equal standards regardless of the individual’s.
We currently provide a range of services to the sight loss community: Assistive Technology training, Benefits information, Sighted Guides, Independent living aids and training, Counselling service, Social Events, Outreach program, Befriending service and Sight awareness training..
We value equality, diversity and inclusion, recognising diversity as a platform for innovation in social practises and relations. We engage, consult and listen in order to understand community perspectives and identify and respond to their needs and issues.
To be continued…..