THATCHAM’S town clerk bid a tearful farewell after 16 years of service on Friday.
Elaine Hare joined the town council as deputy clerk in 1999 and was made clerk in 2004. Community groups and organisations across the town gathered for a farewell party at the town council offices.
Speaking at the event, Mrs Hare said there had been a few challenges and some sad memories, but these had been outweighed by happy memories.
Mrs Hare said there had been many changes during her 16 years at the town council. When she joined there was no Kennet Heath estate, no skatepark, hospital, crematorium or Friday market, and no internet at the town council.
She said: “However, what hasn’t changed is the fact that there have always been people who are willing to help in many ways to enhance the quality of life for residents.”
“Whether as councillors, volunteers on community organisations or as individuals giving time and commitment to helping others or sharing their knowledge.
“It is this that has made my time in Thatcham so special.”
With tears in her eyes Mrs Hare said: “It, you, will always have a special place in my heart and I feel honoured to have been a part of an organisation which has so many links to such a wonderful community.”
Outgoing town mayor Sheila Ellison said: “She has been so helpful, so thoughtful and so tactful; quietly getting her own way without us realising.”
Mrs Hare, who lives in Tadley, was presented with a framed photograph of her ‘home away from home’ – a view from her old office overlooking Thatcham’s cricket ground – and a garden centre voucher.
When she announced her retirement in December last year, Mrs Hare said she had decided to stand down because of age and a very long bucket list.
She thanked her team at the town council who she said were always prepared to give a little extra for their community.
Former deputy clerk Mel Alexander will step into the role of clerk.
The town council’s community and civic manager, Jenny Currie, will assume the duties of deputy clerk.