A DEVON town council has paid tribute to its longstanding clerk as she announces her retirement.   

Holsworthy Town Council paid tribute to their clerk Vanessa Saunders at the town’s annual meeting of the council in the Memorial Hall last week.  

The event, which welcomed members of the public and representatives from local groups, saw mayor, Cllr Nigel Kenneally, lead the council in thanking Vanessa for her service.   

Cllr Kenneally praised the clerk for her “unwavering dedication” to her job.   

He said: “Vanessa started working in local government in 1982, working in two London borough councils before coming to work for the BBC, however your true life calling materialised when you applied for a job at Holsworthy Town Council in 2014.  

“In the ten years that you have worked in the greatest town in Devon, you have shown grace, integrity, compassion, and fire when needed. Your unwavering dedication to your duty has shone through in every endeavour you have undertaken. 

“I’ll remember our first meeting, the first thing you ever said to me was ‘you need to read this’ as you handed me the town council’s social media policy. 

“Since that moment, we have laughed, cried, screamed at each other, and put in hours of work to improve this town, but through it all, you have always been there for me and every other councillor who has ever walked through your door. You have always been on hand to offer calm advice, a word of caution, or a raised eyebrow when we councillors may have overstepped the mark.  

“There probably isn't a group, charity or organisation in this town which you haven’t helped in one way or another, so I’m sure I speak on their behalf when I offer their gratitude for your services.” 

To mark the occasion, Vanessa also received some surprise video messages from her family, congratulating her on her time and work with the council.  

Speaking to the room, Vanessa thanked residents and councillors for making her feel so welcome in this “special place”. 

She said: “Firstly, I’d like to say thank you to all the voluntary organisations that I’ve worked with over the years to make Holsworthy a better place.  

“Secondly, a thank you to all the town councillors that I’ve worked with over the years, and of course Tegan and George, I couldn’t do what I do without you all.  

“You all give so much to this community. Your time and effort make Holsworthy a better place. I can honestly say that there has never been a dull moment working for the council.  

“All of you are focused on making Holsworthy the special and unique community that it is and I am so grateful to have worked alongside you all.”