Leisure East Devon boss bows out

PUBLISHED: 12:52 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 00:57 16 June 2010

Leaving Leisure East Devon after an enjoyable career.

Leaving Leisure East Devon after an enjoyable career.

Copyright Archant Ltd

THE out-going chief executive of Leisure East Devon has hailed the time he s spent in the position as the happiest working years of his professional life.

THE out-going chief executive of Leisure East Devon has hailed the time he's spent in the position as the happiest working years of his professional life.

David Pagett, 60, who supervised the formation of LED in April 2006, a trust which he believes has led to 'a greater level of service' being offered to customers, is retiring next month.

Leisure East Devon is a charitable trust that operates leisure facilities on behalf of East Devon District Council.

Reminiscing on his time in the role, the lifelong sports fan, of Monmouth Street, Topsham, said: "Without a doubt, I've really enjoyed myself. It has been a breath of fresh air.

"This is thanks to being able to work with talented people on the staff here, and also a board of 13 trustees who give their time and effort on a voluntary basis.

"Amongst them (the trustees) are people who have been involved in business all their lives, and with a wealth of experience which has been a godsend to LED.

Mr Pagett joined East Devon District Council 30 years ago. Prior to LED being formed he worked as head of leisure and lifestyle for the local authority.

A long pause ensued, followed by an amused response of 'good question', when asked what he planned on doing with his spare time once he retires.

Mr Pagett said he wanted to play some of his favourite sports, which include golf and tennis, and spend more time with his family - wife Linda, two children, Sophie and Libby, as well as his three grandchildren.

"There have been a lot of highlights in the 30 years I have been with East Devon.

"From a personal point of view, the most satisfying thing I've done is transferring from EDDC and setting up a brand new organisation with an independent board of trustees.

"For someone who has worked in the public sector all my life to have to shift to a new challenge as chief executive of an arms-length organisation was a whole new ball game.

"It was something which, without patting ourselves on the back too much, we have handled pretty well."

Mr Pagett accepted that over the last four years there were some people who had been critical of the conception of LED and the way it operated.

But, based on feedback from the majority of the trust's customers, he said: "Gauged on people who submit suggestion forms and talking to our customers generally, there has been a big improvement since we set up LED.

"We have moved forward tremendously in terms of our income generating potential but also, and perhaps most importantly, in terms of the quality of service being offered to customers.

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