Fiona Mactaggart MP for Slough launched a memorial bench at Slough Station.
Speaking to an audience, which included the widow of Pete Ruhemann who worked as Fiona’s caseworker from 1998 until last year, ex-mayor Lydia Simmons as well as Mr & Mrs Sivaratnum and Mr Robson, Slough residents who had been helped by Pete.
Fiona said “Any successful leader needs a fantastic team, and Pete was a dedicated member of my team who helped the people of Slough with so many problems. He followed up every issue with determination and in the time he was employed as my caseworker he secured thousands of pounds for people in unpaid pensions, he helped victims of fraud and ensured that people’s rights were protected.”
Pete’s cases were not all straightforward. Widow Jo, who joined the ceremony, reminded Fiona of the occasion when Pete helped to rescue a parrot which was threatened with execution by Customs officers who concluded that the family pet had been smuggled from the jungle. When it left Pakistan where it had gone to keep children company while staying with relatives, it was missing one of the many essential forms to prove its origin. Pete succeeded in saving the parrot by persuading a government minister that a bird who nibbled hobnobs from the hand of its owner was not a wild captive.
Fiona thanked Great Western Railways for allowing the warm wooden bench to be placed at the station: “Pete travelled through here; he would often call his wife Jo after a Friday surgery to tell her what train he’d be on, so it is a fitting place to remember him. In the last few years he wasn’t well so he often needed somewhere to sit, that’s why we wanted the bench here. It adds a bit of history to the station, which already has Station Jim, the stuffed dog on the opposite platform.”
The bench was paid for by donations from people who remembered Pete and who were helped by him. The inscription reads ‘Pete Ruhemann, who did so much for so many in Slough’.