Village stalwart still going strong 50 years on

A LONG-serving councillor has reflected on his time serving the community after notching up 50 years on his local authority.

John Dunnett was just 21 when the then chairman asked him to join Grundisburgh and Culpho Parish Council.

He has not looked back since and after half a century is still going strong.

Mr Dunnett, 71, who is married to Margaret, was asked to join the parish council because he was involved in other village activities – as a scout leader, a member of the church choir and a founder member of the youth club.

“The council in 1960 was made up largely of those whose livelihood depended on the village – the farmers, the butcher and the garage proprietor,” he said.

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“I do believe the main objective was to spend as little as possible to keep the rates at a minimum.

“Today we are more enlightened and give grant aid to many village organisations to support those who volunteer for the community.”

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During his 50 years Mr Dunnett, who lives in Grundisburgh, has served as chairman of the parish council twice and has also represented Suffolk Coastal on the executive of the Suffolk Association of Local Councils as well as sitting as chairman.

He has also been involved in a number of community projects including extensions to the village hall, building a new sports pavilion and the Millennium celebrations which included the creation of a special conservation area of which he is warden.

He said he believed there were three requirements to being a parish councillor– knowing your village, its traditions and history, knowing the residents and championing your local community by pushing other authorities to do their job.

“Generally it has been a pleasure to serve on the council over these years,” Mr Dunnett, whose grandfather was also chairman of the parish council, said. “I enjoy helping to build community spirit. It is a great privilege.

“However without the loyalty and support of my wife and children it would have been very much harder.”

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