THE end of an era was reached last week as a stalwart councillor attended his last ever parish council meeting.

Dennis Barnard joined Chapmanslade Parish Council in 1968 and gave a total of 42 years of service as a councillor to the village.

Mr Barnard was presented with a glass decanter by his colleagues on the parish council as a token of their gratitude for the service he has given to the village.

The 83-year-old auctioneer, who has three children and six grandchildren, said: “I’ve had a very enjoyable time on the town council but at the age of 83 it’s time to make way for some new eyes and new blood.

“Fortunately most of the work I’ve carried out has been carried out in good humour and there’s never been any aggression, which is very important on a parish council.

“We have never had a better chairman than Phil Jefferson on the parish council; his attention to detail and devotion to everything that matters in the village is amazing and he will be missed when he too steps down.”

In the village Mr Barnard is known as “Mr Chapmanslade”. He was born and bred in the village and has played a huge part in it over the years.

He was heavily involved in the chapel, where he was a leading member of the congregation until it closed, he ran the post office and village shop and spearheaded a project to rebuild the original village hall in 1972.

On top of that he still organises a number of fundraising events at the church and was also a chairman of the school’s governors.

Parish council chairman Phil Jefferson said: “We are hugely grateful to Dennis for all he has done over so many years and we are sorry that he has decide to step down.

“However, it was a privilege to be able to thank him most warmly for all he has achieved for the village and to wish him and his wife Gwen a long and happy retirement."

Mr Jefferson and Adam Oakley have also decided to stand down as parish councillors. John Foster and Charlie Thackway will be joining the council as new members next month while Francis Morland, Keith Muston, Philip Holihead and John Lewis will complete the line-up.