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Welford Parish Council member steps down as chairman after 40 years

A parish councillor has stepped down from his position as chairman after 40 years of dedicated service leading the council.

Wickham resident David Hunt, 83, joined Welford Parish Council in 1974, became chairman eight years later in 1982 and will remain on the council as vice-chairman now he has stepped down from the top job.

Mr Hunt, a keen horticulturist, was presented with the gift of a glass vase by the rest of the council at its annual parish meeting in Wickham Village Hall on Wednesday, May 25 for his many years of service.

David Hunt stepping down as Welford Parish Council's chairman after 40 years (57109291)
David Hunt stepping down as Welford Parish Council's chairman after 40 years (57109291)

Martyne Ellard, who will be taking over from Mr Hunt as Welford Parish Council’s new chair, said: “I don’t anticipate for one single second putting in the amount of service that David has for this parish. Amazingly, he has been chair of the parish council for 40 years and a parish councillor for 48.”

At the annual parish meeting, Mr Hunt reflected on his time on the council, and talked of the various projects he has led and been a part of during his nearly 50 year tenure.

He began his chairman’s report by discussing how parish councils operate, how they get their funding and how they are made up. Mr Hunt also encouraged people to apply to the vacant parish councillor seat at Welford.

David Hunt with his glass vase that he was gifted by the council
David Hunt with his glass vase that he was gifted by the council

He said: “I don’t want to say as chairman I’ve done this, that and the other, because it’s been the exact opposite of that. We’ve got a grand set of people now who are parish councillors and without exception, all of them have done things over and above what I would have expected them to do.”

He proudly told those present at the meeting of the footpath, five dog waste bins, children’s play area and multi-use games area (MUGA) he has had installed in the parish during his time as chairman.

One of the key parish council projects Mr Hunt spearheaded was recording the number of lorries coming through the parish to reduce the number of HGVs on village roads, which is something the council continues to do today.

He jokingly said: “I found myself on the B4000 sitting on a chair counting the number of lorries coming by, and I thought ‘this is great isn’t it!’”

Mr Hunt was also a key part of the Welford Parish Council campaign that got quiet tarmac installed in the villa, which former Newbury MP Richard Benyon was involved in.

In his final chairman’s report, Mr Hunt also spoke enthusiastically about more recent work the parish council had done.

Specifically, the successful book exchange set up in Wickham around a year ago inside an old telephone box that the council purchased from BT for just £1.

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