David steps down after 30 years in community roles

David Francis cuts the cake at his retirement party in Morpeth Town Hall.
David Francis cuts the cake at his retirement party in Morpeth Town Hall.

A stalwart of two important county organisations was given a fond farewell at his retirement party.

Last month marked 30 years since David Francis started his role as director for Community Action Northumberland (CAN) and secretary for the Northumberland Association of Local Councils (NALC).

He had worked with parish councils and communities in other parts of the country before moving north and over the three decades, he has been involved in tapping into various programmes and initiatives to benefit people across the county.

NALC represents the interests of parish and town councils, whilst offering specialist training and advice and support to its members on a range of topics.

CAN works to promote rural issues, empower organisations and support the most vulnerable people living in rural communities.

During his retirement party, which took place in Morpeth Town Hall, Mr Francis said: “Some issues seem to get solved but others come back time and again, albeit in slightly different guises.

“For example, the sustainability of rural services and the supply of basic utilities like electricity and communications technology – even reliable supplies of drinking water in some areas.

“Fuel poverty and superfast broadband are high on our current agenda.

“Both organisations focus on supporting local communities and they have a strong advocacy role in speaking up for them to the powers that be at a regional and national level.”

He will still be involved on a voluntary basis and will become vice president of CAN and NALC.

Two successors have been appointed – the new CAN chief officer is Andy Dean and the new NALC chief officer is Stephen Rickitt.

Mr Dean said: “The respect, trust and faith that people have in David is phenomenal. He has been a big help to me during this transition and he’s a really nice bloke.”