Pocklington town clerk Richard Wood is set to retire after 15 years in the role.
Former policeman Mr Wood will stand down from the role at the end of June. This year sees him complete 50 years of public service in the East Riding. He joined the then East Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary as a cadet in July 1966, became a constable in the York and North East Yorkshire force in 1969 and served in most towns in the East Riding, including Pocklington, during his 34 years of police service.
The 66-year-old became town clerk in 2001 after retiring from the police. Mr Wood was an inspector at Pocklington between 1986 and 1990.
He said: “My first recollection of visiting Pocklington was as a young constable early one morning the alarm on the recently closed York to Beverley railway line was activated. Thieves were stripping the copper telephone wires which resulted in several arrests. I was very impressed by the beautiful countryside, little did I realise this would be where my wife Diane and two children Robert and Rebecca would settle 20 years afterwards when I became the inspector in charge of policing the area.”
Mr Wood says he has seen many changes during his time as town clerk. He explained: “When I started our offices were then in front of the old library in Railway Street. Built in the depression of the 1930’s it was a sad place. It was well in need of a total renovation so when the chance came to do a land swap with East Riding Council, we traded the library site for the old courthouse on George Street I was delighted to return to a building I knew well.
“The arts centre was in its infancy having been opened in 2000 as the town’s millennium project. We have been lucky to keep good staff and the willing help of the volunteers has contributed to the centre’s continued success. Back in 2001 we had no outside staff, in fact Janet Farmer the manager of the arts centre and I were the only full time staff at that time.”
During Mr Wood’s tenure as town clerk, the town council has helped build a play park at Broadmanor and a skatepark on West Green, it has refurbished the play park at Victoria Road, and it has taken over the lease of Primrose Wood. Keen gardener Mr Wood has also played an important role in Pocklington’s involvement in the Yorkshire in Bloom competition. He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the council and hope my successor will soon settle into what is a most interesting and rewarding job.” Pocklington Town Council is currently recruiting for a replacement.