IT IS a golden year for one councillor who recently received a certificate in recognition of his 50 years’ service to Bradworthy Parish Council.
Cllr Trevor Sillifant and his wife Jennifer are also set to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary in September.
The chairman of the parish council, Richard Boughton, presented Cllr Sillifant with a certificate, on behalf of the council, in appreciation of his 50 years’ service on the council. The presentation was made during the council’s meeting on Friday, July 28.
Cllr Sillifant became a parish councillor in May 1967, when the chairman was the late Mr Tom Cann and meetings were held in the Playing Field Rooms.
He was council chairman from 1979 to 1988 and has also served on various committees including the Memorial Hall and is still secretary/treasurer of the parish charity, ‘The Langdon Trust’.
He was also elected on to Torridge District Council in 1987, upon the retirement of Mr W J Cann, and served until 2007 — during which time he also held office of chairman for two years.
Away from his council duties, Cllr Sillifant has served the community in numerous ways over the years. Over the years he has been a local preacher for 52 years, an active member of the Liberal Party and was the agricultural correspondent for BBC Radio Devon.
Following the presentation of the certificate of recognition Cllr Sillifant responded by thanking all councillors past and present for their support.
Cllr Sillifant said: “I knew it [presentation] was on the cards because they were looking through old minutes — I thought I had done more than 50 years but turns out it was 50.
“I joined when I was 24 and am now 74 — I’m past my sell-by-date really but I’m still going.”
When asked why he wanted to join the council at the age of 24, Cllr Sillifant said: “I had no public service life experience and thought, why not give it a go? I was a farmer and felt I needed to join because in those times the council was mainly made up of people from round the village and I thought I should join to represent the people from the countryside and the whole community.”
He said when he joined he was the youngest member on the council and was in awe of the other, more senior councillors. He added: “I don’t think I said a word during the first two years. There was definitely a hierarchy.”
Although illness has meant Cllr Sillifant has missed a few meetings in the last couple of years, he went almost 50 years without missing a single meeting. He added: “I also never lost a parish council election in my 50 years, which is even more impressive.”
Cllr Sillifant said he has seen many changes over his 50 years on the council and is pleased to see an increased engagement with the community. He said: “There is a lot more to do with it now. Before you would just turn up to meetings and that was that. Now we are a lot more active in the community, getting involved with projects and doing more work outside of the monthly meetings.”
He added: “I want to thank the council for my certificate and the other councillors I have worked with over the years — most of them I have enjoyed working with, some not so much. But I have enjoyed my time on the council, it is something I wanted to do and it has been good to be able to represent the community for so many years. I speak for the ordinary person and will take on anything I agree with and will continue to do so until I retire.”
Cllr Sillifant said, health permitting, he would like to continue on the council until the next parish election.