Political giant Keith Mitchell CBE dies
Tributes paid to former County Council leader who also served at District and Parish levels
Tributes have been paid to the former County, District and Parish Councillor Keith Mitchell CBE who has passed away at the age of 74. Mr Mitchell played a major part in local politics for 32 years and led Oxfordshire County Council for 11 of those.
Born in 1946, Mr Mitchell trained and practised as an accountant. In 1990 at the age of 44 he decided to retire and sold his stake in his accountancy business. Having become the local councillor for Bloxham, Adderbury and Bodicote in 1989 Mr Mitchell now had the time to move into politics full time.
He served in a number of prominent roles at the County Council before becoming it’s leader in 2001, a position he held until 2012, stepping down completely in 2013.
During Mr Mitchell’s time as County Council leader the Audit Commission was still inspecting and rating each council in the country and for the first time Oxfordshire County Council was rated as “Outstanding” – the highest possible rating.
As Council Leader it fell to Mr Mitchell and his cabinet to oversee the first of the cuts that were experienced in local government from 2010.
At the same time as serving as the County Council leader Mr Mitchell served on the South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA), and the Local Government Association. During his political life he had also been a Cherwell District Councillor and was active in Freemasonry.
The current leader of the county council, Councillor Ian Hudspeth, was Keith Mitchell’s successor. He said: “Keith is a towering figure in the history of Oxfordshire County Council and was at the helm through some very significant times. He was very proud to lead the county council.
“He brought experience of the business world in to the role having previously run his own accountancy business. Keith’s public profile could be at odds with the experience of councillors and council officers who dealt with him on a day to day basis and who would testify that he was pragmatic, practical and conciliatory.
“I am sure everyone at the county council would join with me in passing on condolences to Keith’s wife. He will be missed, respected and long-remembered by staff and councillors of all political persuasions.”
In June 2007 Mr Mitchell was appointed a Commander of the British Empire in Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to Local Government.
Mr Mitchell lived on the outskirts of Adderbury and had served on the village’s Parish Council from 1988 to 2008. In 2016, having stood down from other roles Mr Mitchell had been coaxed out of retirement to re-stand for Adderbury Parish Council. He received the support of villagers and was duly elected, subsequently taking on the role of Vice Chairman and took an active part supporting the village’s project to develop sports and leisure facilities on the western side of the village. Adderbury Parish Council have issued a statement sending their condolences to Mr Mitchell’s wife Lynda, his family and friends.