Mayor’s secretary speaks out

FOLLOWING the decision taken by Hastings Borough Council that I should retire on my birthday, July 7 this year, I would be grateful to make a few comments about my 25 years service as Mayor’s Secretary/P.A.

I have been immensely fortunate to have worked with twelve Mayors of Hastings and am proud to have been able to play a part in the promotion of our town as one that is steeped in history, tradition and character.

As a Hastings person I have been happy to devote myself, through the job I have loved, towards the goal of always trying to present Hastings at its civic and ceremonial best.

The Mayor is the town’s first citizen and whoever holds this office, follows a tradition that dates back to 1588. Hastings and its mayoralty hold a unique place in this island’s development and we disregard that at our peril.

Currently, the trend in the town hall seems to be to downplay the importance of Queen, church, country and tradition. I could not disagree more vehemently.

From the bottom of my heart, I should like to thank all those who have supported me over the years, especially my close colleagues within the mayoral team and the town hall. Also, my most sincere thanks to the many unsung heroes and heroines of our town for their untiring support of the civic office - the volunteers within the many charitable organisations and the service and uniformed organisations.

For the record, I had no intention of retiring in July this year, because I felt I still had much to give to my job and to the town. Sadly, others felt otherwise. The manner of my departure was certainly not one of my choosing and the unfounded allegations which flowed from a nasty political agenda, almost pushed me over the edge. I am, however, very relieved to say that because of my strong faith and such amazing support from many dear friends, I have overcome this unnecessary ordeal and am determined to lead a long, active, Hastings-based retirement.

My sincere and grateful thanks to all who have been so kind to write to me both during my enforced absence and now at the point of my retirement – your words have meant so much and have uplifted me on many occasions … I shall treasure them always.

I have an enormous amount to be grateful for and I wish the Hastings mayoralty well in the hope that it can continue as an office of which we can all be proud.

HELEN BIRD M.B.E.

Mayor’s Secretary/P.A.

From June 1986 to July 2011

• Kevin Boorman, head of communications and marketing for Hastings Borough Council, said in response: “We don’t discuss personal or unresolved disciplinary issues through the media, and it would not be appropriate for us to comment further on this letter.

“Helen worked here for more than 25 years, and we wish her well in her retirement.”