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Thetford Town Council clerk, Tina Cunnell, bids farewell after more than seven years

A town council clerk who just stepped into the role temporarily but was crowned Clerk of the Year is leaving her post after more than seven years.

Tina Cunnell, of Thetford Town Council, who will be leaving at the end of the month, started with the authority back in 2015 as a council officer and in that year was Tour of Britain organiser for the town and set up the town’s Heritage Open Day events, which still takes place every year.

But in 2016, Tina was thrust into an even more pivotal role within the officer’s side of the council.

Tina Cunnell winning Clerk of the Year for large councils in 2017. Picture: Mark Westley
Tina Cunnell winning Clerk of the Year for large councils in 2017. Picture: Mark Westley

The 58-year-old said: “Both the town clerk and deputy clerk resigned within two weeks of each other and as the next senior officer I had to pick up the duties whilst the recruitment process to find replacements started.

“But as that went on and I got used to the job I just thought as I was doing it anyway that I would put my hat in the ring for the role and the rest is history.”

A year later, Tina won the Town Clerk of the Year award for large councils from the Norfolk Association of Local Councils, after her colleagues nominated her – becoming the first clerk in the town to win the prize.

During her time, Tina has helped with many town projects including helping to rejuvenate seven Thetford play parks, hosting the freedom of the town for RAF Honington and local historian David Osbourne, VE75 celebrations, the first soapbox challenge as well as the council responses to the deaths Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh and Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

Asked what she is most proud of, Tina said: “There have been lots of great moments, but I think the Guildhall Heritage Hub is the one with the widest impact.

“Restoring the building to provide amazing free events for the town such as craft groups, writers groups and a community choir as well as the site’s tearoom tops it for me.

“During my time, the officers have been incredible, so hardworking and dedicated and though Thetford is only a parish council it does so much more than is expected.

“I hope the whole council continues to evolve with the times and carries on connecting with its residents directly – not just dealing with issues over a phone as others do – as that sense of community is the most important positive thing for the town’s future.”