Celebrating 40 years of Geoffrey’s service

From left, Coun John Woodman, Pat Stewart, Coun Geoffrey Stewart and David Francis, from NALC.
From left, Coun John Woodman, Pat Stewart, Coun Geoffrey Stewart and David Francis, from NALC.

A special celebration took place this week to mark a North Sunderland parish councillor’s four decades of continual service.

The surprise event, to mark the 40-year service of the current chairman, Geoffrey Stewart, took place after the parish-council meeting on Monday night.

As well as the area’s current county councillor, John Woodman, Coun Stewart was joined by the previous ward member, Pat Scott, the former chief officer of NALC (Northumberland Association of Local Councils), David Francis, and his wife Pat.

Mr Francis, now retired but a vice-president of NALC, reflected on the many changes for parish councils since 1976 when Coun Stewart first joined the local council in Seahouses.

“I think it’s true that parish councils benefit from people within their membership that have long-standing knowledge of their parish council,” he said.

“It’s essential to have people, like Geoffrey, who have that deep-seated commitment to their community. He must be one of the longest-serving, continuous parish councillors in Northumberland.

“You are a local treasure, something which I’m sure all your fellow councillors and the local community value.”

Coun Stewart, who was given a glass plaque, while his wife received a bouquet of flowers, said: “I never, ever expected this to happen.

“I have been here a long time, a lot of things have went and come, but we have managed to struggle through it.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with you all, thank you.”