YOUR report about the retirement of Bryan Sobey as an officer of the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents' Association (Gazette, April 22, 2009) highlights the fact that he has worked on behalf of the local community for 48 years.
This is a remarkable record of service that needs to be applauded and celebrated.
Along with his wife Ann he has devoted many thousands of hours to pursuing the interests of the residents of Harmondsworth and Sipson villages.
They were a formidable team, united together in a common cause of securing justice for their members.
Nothing was ever too small or too large for them to tackle - whether it was street cleaning or broken pavements in one of the villages or taking on the might of the Government and the British Airports Authority in resisting the relentless expansion of Heathrow Airport.
My first dealings with the Sobeys was nearly 40 years ago when I was a junior committee clerk at the council and used to deal with their correspondence and complaints to the council.
I was immediately aware of Bryan's knowledge, intellect and analytical skills in whatever cause he was pursuing, and these attributes were absolutely key to the long campaign that he and Ann led to preserve their villages as living communities.
His civility and his calm, logical presentation of the arguments always won admiration and respect from those he came into contact with.
And his twinkling eyes and West Country burr will be remembered with great affection.
Ann's death last October rocked him to the core, but despite severe health problems of his own he still carried on his work as president of the residents' association and a member of the No Third Runway Action Group.
His decision to stand down and move nearer to his daughter is totally understandable, but there is no doubt that he is going to leave a big gap in local affairs.
Hillingdon is extremely lucky in having so many people who give so freely of their time to represent the interests of its residents, but the almost half century of service given by Bryan and Ann Sobey must surely be unique in the history of the borough.
I am sure that many will want to join with me in thanking him for everything he has done and wishing him all the very best for the future.