Arts & leisure manager Nick Keeble to bring down the curtain after a quarter of a century at Haverhill Town Council
After 26 and a bit years of being at the heart of all things entertainment at Haverhill Town Council, arts & leisure manager, Nick Keeble will be leaving his job in just over five weeks.
Nick has been involved in making and running events for the council including the Halloween Trail, the Christmas Fireworks, Music of the Market Square plus The Haverhill Rock Competition, Drama Festival and Community Fun Days.
He also managed and developed the programme of live entertainment, film and community events at Haverhill Arts Centre where he has been beavering away behind the scenes, and often at the front of them too, for the last 17 years as the arts & leisure manager.
For nine years before that he was a leisure worker at the town council.
Nick, who finishes his job on Sunday, December 5, said: “I have had an amazing time in this job and have always been backed by the town council who have trusted me to develop the programme of events, activities and projects in the town and at the arts centre.
“When I think back to my first event, it was absolutely atrocious - I hope I have improved markedly since then.
"When we took on the arts centre in 2004, the town council had a staff of two-and-a-half. We now employ nearly 50 people.
"I have learnt on the job and have been able to steer the arts centre towards being a place which serves the community and occasionally punches above its weight.
“When the town hall was built by Daniel Gurteen in 1883 it was given to the people of Haverhill as a place of education and opportunity; that is what I like to think that it still offers today, with a huge dollop of fun too.
“I have so many great memories from my job.
"Particular highlights for me were seeing the ‘Face of Haverhill’ portrait hanging in the National Portrait Gallery, being the zone leader for the town centre leg of the Olympic Torch Relay, meeting some of my heroes and seeing them perform at the arts centre, and the recent outdoor trails during lockdown which lifted so many people’s spirits."
Central to Nick's role has been the aim of cheering people up and offering them some entertainment.
He said: “Some of my most enjoyable moments have been at the outdoor events in the town centre and in the parks - seeing and hearing the reactions of parents and children as they come across the most unexpected sights and witnessing a sea of happy faces.
“I was once asked what my job role was and I replied ‘To make people smile’.
“I am not retiring, and I hope that this is not a final goodbye from me to events in Haverhill.
“I am looking too at ways that I can continue in events and project management and hopefully some of this work will be local to Haverhill, the town where I grew up, was educated and I have spent the vast majority of my employment.
“I would like to thank all those people who have supported me along the way, give kudos to those who have inspired me and admiration for those who continue to work tirelessly to make Haverhill a good place to live in.”
Town clerk, Colin Poole added: “Nick’s creativity has been behind some truly memorable events for this town.
“I think it is really exciting he is able to give himself freedom and flexibility to focus on doing the things he loves.
“I’m quite sure that whilst we rightly celebrate his ‘marathon achievement’ of service to the town, Haverhill can expect great things still to come.”
Haverhill Mayor, Cllr Liz Smith commented: "Nick has been a fantastic asset to the council over the last 26 years and has so much enthusiasm and love for the town.
“I’m sure we will continue to see him getting involved with the community and hope he will find his future projects enjoyable and rewarding.”