A 64-year-old woman who celebrated 30 years of working for her local parish council says it has been ‘a real pleasure’ to carry out a pivotal role for her community.
Penny Waterfield, clerk to Baughurst parish council, enjoyed a party with all her loved ones at Heath End hall last month to celebrate her special anniversary.
She said her main motivation throughout the years had been helping people, adding: “Baughurst is a very pleasant place to live, and anything I can do to keep that scenario alive and kicking might be useful.”
Mrs Waterfield has been the seventh clerk in 124 years.
She said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 30 years – it’s more of a vocation than a job – and I have met and worked with some gorgeous people.”
She recalled how when she started in 1987, she typed meeting minutes on a manual typewriter, before the council moved to computers, adding: “In 1992 I actually had a photograph in a local paper with me sitting at the computer – it was obviously a rare occurrence.”
Her predecessor, who had been a clerk for 22 years, told her the job didn’t involve a great deal of effort – a meeting once a month, with the odd committee here and there, and lots of time off, particularly in August and December.
But she says times have changed since then: “I started with 12 hours per week, and now do 20.
“The role of the parish council, and the clerk, has become far more pivotal within the community – we are far more accessible, and therefore the workload has also increased.
“We work more closely with our key stakeholders – volunteers help clear the rights of way, and we all work together for notable events. It really has made Baughurst more of a community.”
And it was sense of community that helped make the anniversary party come together for Mrs Waterfield, with 80 representatives from organisations she has worked with in the past, and many friends, attending.
Many old photographs, press cuttings and minute books were on display and an artwork timeline of her role throughout the years was provided, by her daughter, Joanna.
Her son Guy also manned the bar throughout the evening, and husband John helped as well.