Signing off after over 40 years, Peter Streets carried out his duties as an election Presiding Officer in Kings Heath for the last time today.
Peter, from Hall Green, has been a Presiding Officer at the Kings Heath Baptist Hall polling station for every election bar one since 1975. He has recorded the votes for General, Local, European and Mayoral elections, as well as referendums and the votes for the Police Commissioner. The only election he missed was for the current Police Commissioner, having already booked a holiday.
Peter, a former Birmingham City Council employee and then Emergency Planning Manager for Coventry City Council before he retired four years ago, said: “When I first started the ballot box was tin, and had to be sealed at the close of the election with hot wax. Now the boxes are plastic and there is more paperwork involved.”
Ironically, precisely because of his Presiding Officer duties, Peter has not voted in a Polling Station since 1974, and has always used the postal vote. Peter said what he will not miss is having to get up at 5.30am on polling days to make sure the Polling Station is ready.
But he will miss the local people. Peter said: “Much of the High Street and surrounding roads in Kings Heath, with its Victorian houses, has remained much the same over the years and I have met pensioners who first came to the hall in the 1920s for Sunday School. The voters have always been very friendly.”