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Lord Mayor thanks voluntary work veteran

ACCOLADES: From left - Birmingham's Lord Mayor Carl Rice with local magistrate Carlton Ellis

JAMAICAN-BORN Carlton Ellis has received a personal thank you from Birmingham Lord Mayor Carl Rice for serving voluntarily as a magistrate in the city for more than three decades.

Ellis, who will retain the title of Justice of the Peace for life, has just retired as chairman of the Main Bench at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court after taking up the chairman’s position in 1986. The retired accountant also served in the Youth Court (formerly known as the Juvenile Court) for more than 20 years, while also serving in the Family Court for over 25 years.

During a personal reception at the Lord Mayor’s offices at Birmingham Council House, Lord Mayor Carl Rice told him:

“Volunteering in the city is the hidden contribution that people don’t often get to hear about.

“Serving as a magistrate brings great responsibilities and tough decisions every single time you sit on that bench for no financial reward – this has to be one of the most challenging, but also one of the most rewarding volunteering activities that anyone can undertake for their community.

“Obviously as chairman, everyone looked to you for guidance. I imagine you must have had to keep a sense of perspective and a sense of humour while dealing with some very serious issues. I’m sure also that the people you have met over the years are not representative of the Birmingham people because most are law abiding, decent people who give more than they take. On behalf of the citizens of Birmingham I thank you.”

Ellis, who celebrated his 70th birthday earlier this year, also served on the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for nine years, while being a member of the Magistrates Association, serving as treasurer for a decade.

He said:

“It’s has been very rewarding role to play, particularly in helping to mentor new magistrates. And yes, you do have to retain a sense of humour. I can remember one time when a defendant, who could not read, was asked to repeat the oath as it was read out to him. He promised to tell the truth, the whole truth and anything but the truth!”

In other voluntary work, Carlton was a board member of The Drum Arts Centre for more than 10 years; he served on the Independent Monitoring Board at Birmingham Prison for seven years, while also being part of the Handsworth Victims Support Scheme, serving for 10 years as treasurer.

A committed Jamaican, Kingston-born Carlton also served as treasurer on the committee of the Association of Jamaican Nationals (Birmingham) UK, while finding time to serve on the Birmingham Employment Tribunals.

An Overseer for The United Church of God in Birmingham and Manchester, he currently serves as lay manager at the Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, and other private mental health bodies.

Married to wife Audrey for nearly 45 years, Carlton has two sons, two daughters and seven grandchildren.

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