“Calm efficiency and charm” was how Councillor and former Mayor, Andy Ross described outgoing Town Clerk, Shelley Parker when asked. “Nothing appears too much trouble,” and “her use of words,” he added when commenting on the meticulous way in which she prepared the agenda packs for the various committees, how she got things done, and the professional way she set up the Town Council offices at No 5 High Street. “Her stamp is all over the way the council presents itself which will be her lasting legacy. I know that I will miss her, she is a smashing person and an outstanding town clerk.”
Other Councillors were similarly effusive noting what she had managed to achieve during her tenure, which approximated to eight years.
“Shelley has worked extremely hard, enabling the Town Council to deliver a record number of projects that benefit the community, including: The refurbished youth centre; new public toilets; new play equipment in Cooper’s Meadow and Jubilee Field; 20mph speed limits and a draft Neighbourhood Plan. We should be very thankful for her hard work and commitment over these last eight years,” said former (twice) Mayor, Councillor Mervyn Hall.
“It’s very sad to see her go, she has been an inspiration to me and has helped me so much in so many ways. The council will not be the same without her,” commented former mayor, Cllr Lisa Farrell.
“This is without doubt the end of an era,” said Councillor and former Mayor, Guy Loosmore. “Shelley has worked tirelessly during her tenure to help make Marlborough a better place for all. Her charm, warmth and diplomacy, have enabled Marlborough Town Council to achieve many positive changes. Her positive disposition and smile will be greatly missed.”
Councillor Susie Price, chair of the Planning Committee noted: “Shelley’s wisdom and support were invaluable to me as a new councillor (especially a younger, female one!) and her dedication to the town was inspiring.”
“Many people get D-mob happy when they’re about to leave a job. Not Shelley Parker. She carried on at full pace to the end – and even put in extra time to help her successor into post. Need I say more than that? I hope her positive and enabling attitudes will be a lasting legacy,” added long serving Town and Wiltshire Councillor Nick Fogg.
This and next year’s Mayor, Cllr Mark Cooper, was similarly effusive regarding his praise for Ms Parker: “Shelley is the most outstanding public servant that I have ever had the pleasure and privilege to work with. Shelley has done so much for the town and the people of Marlborough over the last eight years and I know that Councillors, Ex Councillors and fellow Ex Mayors will agree with me that the help and support that she has given us over the last eight years has been invaluable. Shelley has helped and supported so many individuals and groups in the town and I know that I speak for many in saying that Shelley will always be remembered in the town for her kindness, support and for being quite simply the best town clerk any town could wish to have.”
“Shelley has been an exemplary Town Clerk. And she played a major part in transforming the Town Council – by her personality and calm competence – from one which was a byword for scratchiness and ill-feeling, to a harmonious, friendly and co-operative body even when we disagree. She was also brave to come here given the reputation Marlborough Town Council had in the county,” noted Town Councillor and former Mayor, Alexander Kirk-Wilson.
Former Mayor and current Town Councillor, Noel Barrett-Morton, added: “I have been a Marlborough Town Councillor since winning a by-election in 2011. Shelley Parker who leaves us after eight years has been an exemplary Town Clerk who has always gone that extra mile in providing help and guidance to all the Councillors, particularly during their Mayoral Year. She will be sorely missed and a hard act to follow. We all wish her the very best for the future.’’
Town Councillor and Tree Warden Councillor Don Heath noted: “As a new Councillor four years ago Shelley’s guidance and support proved to be invaluable. During those four years I have had admiration for her tireless energy, working late into the evenings and weekends. She has steered the staff and supported the councillors through this unprecedented time in recent history to ensure all matters of Governance remained on track. She will be missed. I wish Shelley every happiness in her well earned retirement.”
Retirement? When asked about what’s next Shelley did tell marlborough.news that retirement wasn’t the immediate next step: “Not sure what’s on the cards for me next only that I won’t be retiring for a while yet. I wouldn’t know how to stop.”
New Councillor, Jo Waltham, commented: “I was co-opted to town council only a few months ago and Shelley has been very welcoming. She is knowledgeable and informative and is alway happy to answer my questions. She has worked very hard for Marlborough especially during this difficult year and will be missed.”
Vanesa Hillier, another relatively new Councillor echoed Jo’s point adding “As a relatively new councillor Shelley was always on hand to answer all my queries and never made me feel silly for asking.”
Former Town Councillor, Mayor and current County Councillor, Stewart Dobson added: “Shelley has never lived in Marlborough, but has in the past eight years as Town Clerk made an incredible and valuable contribution to the life of the town. I have worked with her as both a Town and Wiltshire Councillor and have always had the greatest respect for her great knowledge of Local Government, her commitment to hard work often resulting in very long hours in her office, but most of all for her willingness to listen to all points of view whether expressed by Councillors or members of the public. She will be sorely missed by all those who have had the pleasure of working with her.
Former Town Councillor and Mayor, Marian Hannaford-Dobson described Shelley as bringing “a burst of fresh air to Marlborough Council. She is an extremely knowledgeable and very hard working lady, always one hundred per cent on top of her job and with an ability to bring out the best in anyone
who is lucky enough to be working with her.
Former Councillor and Mayor Margaret Rose noted the contribution that Shelley Parker had made to Marlborough during her eight year tenure as Town Clerk. “I think Shelley has every right to be proud of her record at Marlborough Town Council. Her steady hand guided the council and surrounding villages through the Neighbourhood Plan which has been ongoing for many years.” She added that the list of achievements during this time “was endless”, highlighting just a few successes: “Area Board; Youth Centre; ‘Scouting for Girls’ appearing at the Christmas Lights Switch-On – a highlight of my Mayoral year; Her drive in tourism making sure Marlborough is on the map; Marlborough’s record in winning gold in South West in Bloom.” She also commented on the support that Shelley had given to elected officials – Committee Chairs and new Mayors – “The effort she has always taken to guide and support a new chairman of the different committees, helping them with their brief, giving them confidence in their roles in chairing meetings but always there gently supporting, giving amazing support to new Mayors and always respecting the formalities of civic traditions. She has put in many hours for Marlborough Town Council way beyond the call of duty and we would all wish her a fulfilled retirement on whatever she chooses to put her energy. She will always be a great asset to any voluntary organisation.”
Current Deputy Mayor, Councillor Andy Wilson added: “Shelley has been instrumental in shaping Marlborough Town Council to its current position of a very strong and well lead council. She was a vital contact point for new councillors who came on board in 2017 and guided us all into seamlessly slipping into our roles. Her knowledge of local government is immense and how she prepared the documents for our meetings was without fault and full of detail”.
“Suffice it to say, Shelley has been the most diplomatic and steady influence on the workings of a Town Council that I’ve ever experienced. The role of Town Clerk is the keystone that nobody ever sees but without a truly dedicated person in such a position a Council doesn’t work half as well as it should,” noted Councillor Peter Cairns, adding that “Shelley has been a hidden gem and we’ll all miss her. I wish her well in her retirement.”
The final quote will come from Guy Loosmore – something echoed by all those approached for comment by marlborough.news:
“Put simply, Shelley has been brilliant!!”