Brancaster clerk still going strong after 50 years

Colin Manning helps Janet Lake unwrap a framed photograph of Brancaster beach MLNF16PB03716 ANL-160330-171624001
Colin Manning helps Janet Lake unwrap a framed photograph of Brancaster beach MLNF16PB03716 ANL-160330-171624001
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Fifty not out! That is the proud claim of Janet Lake, clerk to Brancaster Parish Council for half-a-century and still going strong.

To mark the occasion of her 50th year in the job, a celebration party was held in Brancaster village hall on Tuesday.

Council chairman, Jeremy Thompson, told a crowded hall that it was a “wonderful occasion”.

Noel Linge, the longest-serving parish councillor and former chairman, first elected in 1972, echoed his words, adding that Mrs Lake was the busiest person he knew.

He ticked off some of the other jobs she had taken on over the years: school governor, founder member and secretary of the 71 club and even a school dinner lady.

She was also a committee member of the Deepdale and Brancaster Housing Society, founded to provide homes for local people, and a church warden.

“Basically, she has been an active and strong member as clerk to the council yet still found time to raise a family,” he said.

But despite her length of service to the community, Mrs Lake, 75, has no plans to retire from a job she began in 1966 when she was approached to take on the role by former chairwoman and borough councillor, Rose Gibbs.

Among the guests were the borough mayor and mayoress, Colin and Julie Manning, North-West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, parish councillors past and present and her many friends.

Mrs Lake, who was born in Brancaster, thanked everyone for “putting up with me for 50 years” and said that he job had been “mostly a great experience”. She said: “Thank you for a lovely reception.”

She was delighted to be given a framed photograph of Brancaster beach to mark the occasion.

Mrs Lake said that among the changes that had taken place during her time as clerk was the increase in second homes in a parish which incorporates Burnham Deepdale and Brancaster Staithe.

She said: “Now 70 per cent of homes are holiday homes and the indigenous population is less than a thousand.”

She said she missed the days of the urban district council too. “The borough council is more distant though they are very helpful,” she said.

Sir Henry said: “I’ve known Janet for more than 30 years. She’s an amazing person. She’s often come to me with her problems and I, in turn, have gone to her with mine.”