A parish clerk, who has been at the heart of five communities for 42 years, has finally handed over her notepad to find time for the hobbies she has always been too busy for.
Eileen Bark (82) has been regarded as the “person in the know” in Bratoft, Firsby, Great Steeping, Irby in the Marsh and Little Steeping ever since the parishes merged in 1973 to form Firsby Group Parish Council.
Her final night in the hot seat was at the parish council meeting in Bratoft Village Hall on Wednesday, where councillors presented her with a pen and garden centre voucher to thank her for her sterling efforts.
Mrs Bark, who is not giving up her political life entirely, as she remains clerk to Thorpe St Peter Parish Council, said she had been overwhelmed by all of the attention.
She said: “I’m not one to be in the limelight, but they managed to embarrass me and presented me with a lovely pen and a voucher for the garden centre because they know I love my plants.
“An aweful lot has changed since I started. Things were much more basic back then - things like the roads and potholes and planning applications. Now planning is much more complicated and we also publish a newsletter. Everything’s on the computer now but that’s only been recently.
“Since we merged there has also been a change in where we meet because we only have two village halls left - we meet in the churches in Great Steeping and Irby.
“I’ve loved every minute but I’ll still be clerk at Thorpe St Peter and now I’ll have more time to do other things. I love to keep busy but it takes me a bit longer these days.”
Chairman Richard Kidd said: “Eileen has done a brilliant job for her age. If anyone in any of the villages wanted to know something we always knew Eileen would have the answer. We are going to miss her.”