BECOMING a fisherman after training as an educator is certainly a bold career change – but if nothing else, it was a move that allowed the incoming deputy mayor of Colchester to make his mark on local politics.

Long-serving Conservative councillor John Jowers has been involved in the council scene since the 1980s – and that service is set to continue when he becomes the deputy mayor of Colchester later this year.

Having already been mayor of Mersea in the 1990s and latterly chairman of Essex County Council, the 76-year-old, who lives on Victory Road in Mersea, said he “might as well complete the trio”.

He said: “I’ve turned the position down over a long period of time, but people have been saying to me that I’ve really got to do this.

“There comes a time when I’m coming to the end of my political career – by the time I’m mayor I will have been involved in politics for over 25 years.”

As incoming deputy mayor, tradition has it that Mr Jowers will go on to become mayor of Colchester in 2023, when he will succeed the next incumbent Tim Young.

But as with all councillors, Mr Jowers had to have a reason to go down the road of local politics.

In his case, Mr Jowers’ involvement partly stemmed from his work as a fisherman – but not before a stint as an English teacher and lecturer in Leicestershire first.

“I got to the ripe old age of 28, got back to Mersea from the Midlands, and I gave everything up to become a fisherman – you could do things like that in those days.

“It was either a case of staying in education or doing something I had a passion for – it was damn hard, but it didn’t seem like work.

“It was a shrewd move because in those days you could make a good living out of it.”

Then came Mr Jowers’ call to get involved in the political scene, when a wheelchair user needed a footpath to get down Coast Road.

Constructing a pavement may not seem like the most important issue in the world of politics, but it is exactly the sort of thing local councillors are there to push along to improve the lives of residents.

“All three political parties asked me to stand and a Mersea old boy said I could make a good go of it.

“One particular person in a wheelchair in Mersea couldn’t get down Coast Road because there wasn’t a footpath – his son had to push him down there for him to look at his oyster layings.

“The purpose of politics is to help people out,” Mr Jowers added.

And although three political parties came knocking for Mr Jowers, he said his career as a fisherman was behind him representing the Conservatives.

“It was the logical choice – I was a self-employed businessman,” he said.

“There are a lot of political problems with the fishing industry and I felt I could get a better hearing from them, but I could just as easily be a member of the other political parties.”

Mr Jowers has served on Colchester Council consistently since 1996 as well as being a county councillor, always serving his beloved Mersea.

Local politics more generally got a shot in the arm a year ago when a parish council meeting went viral – it may have been hilarious to many, but Mr Jowers saw it as a chance to show people the amount of effort councillors put in.

“Local democracy is the most vital form of democracy,” he said.

“Councillors do an amazing job and parish councils can do amazing things – they don’t have many powers, but they do have influence.

“Altruism is not dead yet.”