One door may close, but as that clunks ‘shut’ another opens.
For Marlborough the ‘doors’ are the Town Clerks. Shelley Parker has now left after eight years, and her successor, Richard Spencer-Williams has taken over in the ‘hot seat’.
Richard described to marlborough.news what the role of Town Clerk means to him: “Becoming a Town Clerk has been a real gift to me personally, and a privilege. It offers me many challenges and insights that can only be experienced by working at a local level with communities.”
The role of Town Clerk is critical to the successful running of any town. It’s the civic equivalent of Managing Director or CEO of a commercial business. Richard now will be Marlborough’s effective CEO, as Shelley was before. Not that the Town Clerk actually makes the decisions and orders people around – they don’t – but what they do is far more subtle and influential – they advise and steer Councillors whilst facilitating what is decided (by those elected officials) turning all such decisions into reality. As well as ensuring effective corporate governance.
It’s a key role. And as noted in Shelley Parker’s tribute piece published last week her efforts were widely respected and appreciated by all.
So no problems for Richard then, an easy role to fill…. No, but he comes well practised having played the equivalent role for Malmesbury across the past two years. Another notable Wiltshire town, but whilst being significantly smaller than Marlborough it is extremely widely known and boasts a long and impressive heritage. In recent years it was Dyson: where James Dyson started off his vacuum cleaner and fan business before decamping to the tax-advantageous areas in the East such as Singapore, but in historical times it was a major centre for Christianity and Malmesbury Abbey boasted a spire several metres higher than that of Salisbury Cathedral (wonder if Russian Secret Service agents could recite that exact height as well?). The roof of the Abbey is also from where an intrepid (and visionary) monk, Eilmer, launched the world’s first hang glider in around 1010. Although he managed to cover a reported 180-200 metres, he’d not recognised that such a device needed a tail for directional control and stability, nor had he understood about landing. He crashed, thankfully survived, although breaking both legs in the process but showing that man could fly all the same.
So Malmesbury and Marlborough are similar in many respects. Malmesbury being two thirds the size of Marlborough, both being in the same County and having names starting ‘Ma’. For Richard Spencer-Williams the change won’t be that great and he can go on to leave his indelible mark on the Town, as there will be many opportunities so to do as the range of challenges facing the Town Council increases almost daily.
Richard explained to marlborough.news: “I have been a Town Clerk just over two years, previously at Malmesbury Town Council. Embarking on a second career, becoming a Town Clerk has been a real gift to me personally, and a privilege”…. “Whilst a challenging role, it is also very rewarding, bringing influence on outcomes for the Community it serves. Outcomes for the Community are what drives me and what focusses my attentions as a Town Clerk, informed by the consensus will of the Council itself. I see it as my job to facilitate, enable and empower the Council to advocate and serve the community it represents.”
He added: “Prior to being a Town Clerk I worked for 25 years in managing youth and community services for several local authorities in both urban and rural settings. Fifteen of those years have been spent in Wiltshire, so I consider I have a good understanding of the issues, challenges and opportunities Wiltshire presents; and which stand me in good stead to discharge the duties of a Town Clerk.”
He looked forward to his role in Marlborough stating: “I hope to serve Marlborough to the best of my ability and look forward to the adventure it will no doubt bring.”