Great Gonerby parish councillor Jeff Thompson retires after 51 years
For over five decades Jeff Thompson has worked tirelessly to ensure that his little bit of England is a nicer place to live.
The Great Gonerby ‘Clockpelter’ signed up as a parish councillor at the age of 27 and now, after 51 years of dedicated service to the community, he has made the tough decision to retire from a post which he has loved.
At a parish council meeting on Monday night he was presented with a gift (a cordless drill) to mark the occasion.
Blake Hutchinson, Gonerby Parish Council chairman, said: “Jeff is standing down after 51 years and he will be sadly missed. I am sure I will still call him on occasions for information or village history but I would like to say on behalf of the whole village thank you very much.”
Jeff said that although he was officially retiring he would still be doing his allocated jobs and would be there for anything the parish council asked him to do.
He said: “Fifty one years has now come to an end and I have enjoyed every bit. It just seemed the right time for me to go and give some younger people in the village a chance to be involved in the work of the parish council.
“As a bona fide Clockpelter (the name Great Gonerby villagers call themselves) my most enjoyable memories are looking after the village clock, which dates back to 1897, and being involved in the new Memorial Hall project.”
Born at Manor Farm in 1943, Jeff can trace his family history back as far as 1560 when St Sebastian’s church records began.
According to the parish council minutes of Jeff’s first meeting on May 20, 1970, then chairman Ron Merrick said that it was “nice to see one of the younger element” taking an interest in local affairs. He later became a district councillor for the Great Gonerby ward from 1971 until 2014.
Last July the parish council marked Jeff’s half century of service and contribution to village affairs by presenting him with a glass commemoration for his golden anniversary.
He said: “I’ve got such an immersion into a love of this village and I always will have. I used to cut the grass for the parish council, all over the village, and we had a little bit of land where some cottages used to stand on Green Street.
“Nobody knew whose it was, so I instigated an establishment of squatters’ rights on behalf of the village. Once you occupied it for 12 years and nobody staked a claim to it, it was yours.
“The late Joe Simmonds sold his bus depot which was on the periphery of this bit of land, so he paid the parish council pro-rata for it, about 40 feet by 40 feet.
“The wonderful part of it was, after Joe had done the deal, he then discovered that the area he had paid us for, was his anyway. But to Joe’s great credit, he stood by the deal, paid us out, and that bought the burial ground, which was wonderful.
“Now it’s time to move on but I am always here for the village if needed.”