Bersted parish councillors have thanked their former chairman. Cllr Patrick Hastings, who stood down from the position at the council’s annual meeting.
He had been chairman for nearly two years after a three-year spell in the role from 1999-2002.
Cllr Hastings will stay on the council until at least next May to continue his membership of more than 25 years.
“I shall miss being chairman,” said Cllr Hastings. “But I think it’s a time for fresh ideas.
“Parish councils are even more important now than when I joined. They are the gateway to local government for people.
“We are here for people to approach when they have an issue and to take that forward. It’s often easier for us to do that than it is for members of the public.”
He said he was especially proud of the council’s work on two projects in the past year which had engaged residents.
One was the ditch and drain flood group in which people put on their wellies to trace the routes of watercourses. Fifteen infrastructure projects were found to be needed.
The other was the neighbourhood plan which set out the area’s future in line with residents’ views.
The informal social occasion at the Jubilee Community Centre also marked a farewell to Cllr Brian Green. He resigned at the annual meeting to end 14 years as a councillor.
Nine years of that term has seen him in charge of the important finance and general purposes committee.
The occasion was also used by the parish council to showcase its projects of the past year. They are:
n Three parish boundary signs created by artist Mike Jupp to illustrate Bersted’s history;
n Commemorative stone – a piece of Sebastopol stone installed as public art outside the centre;
n Tree seat at the Willow Pond to replace the previous seat; and
n A clock and a weather vane at the centre. Both were bought by Cllr Hastings from his allowance to make the building more memorable.
The first three were created by local craftsmen.