WINDELL ‘Joe’ Walcott left his Jamaican homeland at the end of the Second World War and joined the RAF because he thought Britain needed his help.
Now, after almost two decades of public service, the former mayor of Carterton has stepped down to spend more time with his family.
Mr Walcott was mayor between 2000 and 2002 and chairman of West Oxfordshire District Council between 2002 and 2006.
But the 86-year-old, along with his wife Loretta, 79, have decided to retire from their roles on Carterton Town Council to focus on their family.
They have five children, 10 grandchildren – one of whom is Arsenal and England footballer Theo Walcott – and five great grandchildren.
Mr Walcott – who will also step down from West Oxfordshire District Council in May – said: “I am most proud of my family and the achievements of my children and grandchildren.
“When you have brought up children in life and then you see their children become successful, it makes you very proud.”
Mr Walcott was born in Jamaica in 1926 but travelled to the UK after joining the Royal Air Force in 1945 while still a teenager.
He said: “I was walking around one day and I saw a sign that said ‘your country needs you’.
“I felt that I had a responsibility because Jamaica was part of the Commonwealth and therefore I thought I would try and play my part.
“I did not tell my parents at first – I was in England before they found out – but they were okay. We had a good relationship.”
Mr Walcott joined as an airman and, after tours of duty in Cyprus, Malta, Germany and Singapore, rose to become a warrant officer.
His role was as an air quartermaster and he worked supplying military bases. He retired after 34 years’ service.
He said: “I enjoyed it all. You worked hard but you also played hard. It was a good life and you felt like you were part of a happy family when you were in the RAF.”
Mr Walcott met his future wife Loretta at a cricket match in Jamaica in 1953 when he visited the country on holiday from the air force.
They married six weeks later – they celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in October – and settled down in Carterton, near RAF Brize Norton.
Mr Walcott said: “We had been around RAF Brize Norton and we liked Carterton. It was quiet and the people were friendly.
“It was a lovely place to live then, and it still is.”
Mr Walcott was first elected to both Carterton Town Council and West Oxfordshire District Council in 1995. He said: “I was always interested in politics and I did it because I saw there were quite a lot of things that needed to be done.
“I thought I could make a difference.”
He added: “I was proud to become mayor, and then when I was made chairman of the district council I was very, very proud.
“I was the first person of my race to achieve that.”
Mr Walcott won an MBE for his services to the community in 2006 and was presented with the award by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.
He stepped down from his positions, along with his wife, who joined the town council in 2003, earlier this year.
He added: “When you reach a certain time in life you get tired, and I am not very steady on my legs any more.
“At my time of life I deserve to go out to pasture.”
Mr and Mrs Walcott plan to spend their retirement visiting their family and going on holiday.