Clerk’s temporary job’ lasted 50 years
A PARISH clerk has retired after 50 unbroken years of service – having taken the job on a temporary basis . Ouida Ascroft was part of the fifth generation of her family to be born in the same house in Yelling and still lives 500 yards from where she the
A PARISH clerk has retired after 50 unbroken years of service - having taken the job "on a temporary basis".
Ouida Ascroft was part of the fifth generation of her family to be born in the same house in Yelling and still lives 500 yards from where she the property.
Last Friday (November 30) Mrs Ascroft celebrated her half century in post with over 100 guests, including Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly and his wife, Rebecca.
There were three presentations of gifts to Mrs Ascroft and an unveiling of a plaque. She received antique rings, a bouquet presented by Queenie Hall, 85, one of Yelling's oldest residents, and a certificate of achievement from the Cambridgeshire Association of Local Councils.
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Mrs Ascroft said: "I can't believe that it's actually 50 years ago that my father-in-law 'strongly encouraged' me to become parish clerk on a temporary basis. I'm totally committed to my village and it's been a fantastic experience being clerk to the council. It's been a real privilege serving my local community and I do hope that my contribution has added something to Yelling - the village in which I was born, brought up and love."
Mrs Ascroft, 75, founded the Yellow Flower Festival 10 years ago, which has raised thousands of pounds for the upkeep of the church. She is secretary of the Joseph Ashcroft Coal Charity for parishioners. She is secretary of the Quarterly Luncheon Club in St Ives and of the St Ives and District Flower Club which has 200 members.
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It was in 1950 that Mrs Ascroft met her husband, Gordon. They started a youth club together in the Parish Institute. They married in 1954 and have a son, two daughters and six grandchildren. It was her father-in-law, Frank, who suggested she become parish clerk and she has now worked with 12 parish chairmen.
The year she took office, 1957, was also the year that electricity was connected to the village - a main sewer was not connected until 1968/9. However, Yelling had a school, a butcher's shop, a blacksmith's, a pub, eight working farms and a road-sweeper. Deliveries were made of papers, milk, bread, paraffin and fish and a doctor called twice a week.
When the school closed in 1970, it was reopened as a village hall, having been bought from the Diocese of Ely by voluntary donations from village residents.