Thank you to our former mayor Glyn for dedication and commitment

Former mayor Glyn Dobson (right)

Former mayor Glyn Dobson (right) - Credit: Phyllis Baxter

In their latest column, Ottery St Mary Friends of Phyllis Baxter Action Group pay tribute to Glyn Dobson.

Phyllis Baxter dressed in red sat at her desk with a pen, book and other office equipment

Phyllis Baxter had a dream to write a book and launch a website about Ottery - Credit: Phyllis Baxter

The Friends of Phyllis Baxter Group is delighted to hear that an award granted to Glyn Dobson, ex-Mayor of Ottery St Mary, had finally been delivered.

The award was granted in recognition and appreciation of 19 years of service as Ottery St Mary town councillor.

Glyn Dobson was a town councillor from 2001 to 2020 and mayor of the town from 2008 to 2019. It is of our understanding that Glyn is considered the longest serving Mayor in Devon.

We thought such an outstanding record would bring within itself many interesting tales. We started by asking him how it felt being a councillor and a Mayor for such a long time.

”Although a councillor for 19 years the time seemed to fly by, there was always so much to do. When first elected as chairman I set myself a number of goals to achieve, then being elected as the first mayor of Ottery St Mary the list seemed even longer but I enjoyed every minute and found myself busy every day and thankfully achieved most of the objectives.”

We assumed that in a position of such responsibility there must have been plenty of memorable experiences and also moments when difficult decisions had to be made.

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“There were many memorable experiences.

"The one that was probably the hardest to achieve but gave me the greatest pleasure was leading from the start the project to provide a safe passage from the town to Kings School.

"For many years it had been suggested a bridge could be built from the land of Canaan spanning the river Otter, the obstacle was obtaining the land.

"With the assistance of the then town clerk Judith Reynolds, we met the landowner which led to the successful purchase of the land.

"A partnership between Devon County Council, East Devon District Council, the town council and Sustrans was formed, plans were drawn up, funding obtained and after much hard work in 2011 the bridge was opened and has been a tremendous success.

"The project was nominated for the South West small civil engineering project of 2012 as the plan included among others a range of environmental protection measures for protected species and placing bat boxes on the trees along the river bank.

“Perhaps the most difficult decision was recommending to the council to purchase the convent building and then converting it to council offices.

"Ever since I was elected, I was concerned that the access to the council office was difficult being on a hill and the council chamber was on the first floor.

"I was very keen on the council being accessible for residents which is the reason we were all elected. It was decided to seek the views of the public and Cllr Elli Pang and resident Robert Neale carried out a survey asking if residents supported the idea.

"In five days over a thousand signatures were obtained from the public in support.

"The council duly recommended that I lead a working party in the purchase of the property." 

The Council presented Glyn an award in gratitude for the sound leadership in acquiring the Old Convent, something Glyn is very proud of.

“After nineteen years there are many stories to tell but space is limited.

"I must mention the team I had the pleasure to work with, I was extremely fortunate to have a great team of councillors to support me, my deputy of nearly eleven years Cllr Ian Holmes was always present and supportive.

"Not to forget the admin team lead by the then town clerk Judith Reynolds who was there for most of the time I was Mayor and was always supportive."

The legacy of Glyn’s time in office is not only represented by the award he has just received but also by the many projects he initiated and that still are providing a service to the community.

On behalf of the group and of the Ottery residents to whom Glyn served with such dedication and commitment, we would like to thank him and wish him all the best for the future.