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National award for long-serving clerk

Mike Elliott is clerk to 17 parish councils
Mike Elliott is clerk to 17 parish councils

A man who works 85-hour weeks as clerk to 17 parish councils has received an award for outstanding service.

Mr Mike Elliott, who is also a journalist, was recognised by the Society of Local Council Clerks.

Mr Elliott received the award as a surprise at the national conference.

The society previously recognised his work in 2005 when he received an award for outstanding contribution and long service.

He will be 80 next year, but retirement is the last thing on his mind.

Mr Elliott works 85 hours a week and attends council meetings four evenings a week.

“I just enjoy it. I do not want to give it up,” he said.

Mr Elliott applied for his first parish clerk’s job at the age of 18 when there was a vacancy in his home village of Bunny.

He was involved with most organisations there and so felt he would be ideally suited for the post.

They turned him down because they felt he was too young.

Today it is one of the councils that he looks after.

He was first appointed as a parish clerk in 1987 at Shelford.

He attended the meetings to report on them and so when they were left without a clerk he was asked to take the minutes.

Mr Elliott did such a good job he was asked to consider taking it on permanently.

Thirty years later he is still there.

After a few months, Gunthorpe Parish Council approached him and so he took on that job too.

“It just went on from there,” he said.

“When I am asked to help I never like to say no.”

He also helps as an interim clerk when councils are in need of somebody to step in to help them through a vacancy.

He did that at Hawton 11 years ago and remains their clerk.

His other parish councils include East Stoke and Thorpe, Flintham, Thurgarton, Whatton and Elston.

When possible, the councils are encouraged to keep their meetings to two hours but they have been known to go on until 10pm.

That does not mean Mr Elliott’s work is done because he always writes up the minutes the same evening.

Mr Elliott believes parish councils still have an important role in village life.

“A lot of people do not realise the duties and responsibilities they have,” he said.
“But they are important at grassroots level and can have a real impact.”

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