John Binks

John Binks MBE
John Binks MBE
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THE last mayor of Morley Borough Council before the borough was abolished, John – better known as Jack – Samuel Binks won a seat on the council some years earlier, having been an active Young Conservative since his school days.

He was elected an alderman in 1969, and from 1968 to 1973 he was leader of the council. He was deputy mayor twice (in 1964-65 and 1969-70) and, in 1973-74 he and his wife were the last mayor and mayoress.

Mr Binks died suddenly while preparing for a regular meeting of Integrity Masonic Lodge, Morley. He was 81.

He was born in West Ardsley and his education was disrupted first when the family moved to Hull, where he attended the junior school at Hymers College.

They were then evacuated to Churwell, between Leeds and Morley, and, at the age of nine, he became the youngest pupil in the history of Morley Grammar School.

He and his mother then returned to Hull where he went back to Hymers College, and he ended his schooling at Morley Grammar School again.

The family had returned to the town in 1944 following the death of his grandfather.

While still at school he became chairman of the Morley Young Conservatives, the youngest YC chairman in the country. He became divisional chairman of Batley and Morley Young Conservatives and vice-chairman of the Yorkshire YCs.

He also met Shirley Scott, whom he married after an eight-year courtship in 1954, moving into a house he designed and built in Gildersome.

He spent a year as an apprentice joiner with the family firm of J.W.Binks & Sons, building contractors and funeral directors founded by his great grandfather John Walter Binks in 1870. He then did a three-year full-time course at the Leeds College of Technology, and armed with a Higher National Diploma in Building, he re-joined the family firm.

Following expansion of the funeral side of the business, the building operation was closed
the year he retired in 1991, and the funeral directing firm is
now run by his eldest son Richard.

When Mr Binks was 21, he fought a Morley Council by-election, losing by 11 votes. He stood unsuccessfully two more times, and finally – in 1961 – became a councillor for Gildersome as an Independent, and was elected an alderman of the borough in 1969.

In 1973 he was elected as the Conservative member for the North Ward of Morley to Leeds City Council, on which he became chairman of the leisure services committee. Following his retirement from the council
in 1976, he was elected as
one of the first two honorary aldermen of the newly enlarged city.

In 1991 Mr Binks was became an MBE for public and political services.

His father and grandfather were presidents of the Morley Association of Building Trades Employers, and he became president of the Leeds branch of the national association.

He also followed his father and grandfather into Freemasonry as a member of Integrity Lodge 380, rising to become a Grand Lodge Officer as well as holding high rank in many other orders and side degrees and being a founder member of Excalibur Lodge, the Round Table Lodge for West Yorkshire.

Mr Binks was also chairman of Morley Round Table and chairman of Area 9.

A renowned speaker with a ready wit, he wrote in some biographical notes: “If I didn’t fear libel actions and losing all my friends I might sometime detail all the Morley characters I have known. The place was full of them and sadly there are now very few.”

His death has further reduced that dwindling number.

Mr Binks is survived by his wife, their sons Richard and Martin, and two grandsons and a great granddaughter.