The retirement of a Morpeth resident from the town council brings to an end his many years of involvement in community life.
David Parker has been a member of the Liberal Party, and subsequently the Liberal Democrats, since 1962. He always wanted to take on the councillor role, but felt his position as a Church of England parish priest gave rise to potential conflicts of interest.
However, he seized the opportunity of seeking election when he retired from active ministry and he won a seat on the former Castle Morpeth Borough Council in 1999.
His 10-year stint included two re-elections and the position of environmental and planning executive member. He was deputy leader, then leader, of the Liberal Democrat group on the authority during this period.
David was also elected to Morpeth Town Council in 2003 and was successfully re-elected twice. He has now retired from this role.
He was part promoter of a successful national campaign to secure a new system to make insurance premiums more affordable for people living in flood-risk areas. It brought together members of the town council, Morpeth Flood Action Group and Morpeth Chamber of Trade.
Roles on this local authority included chairman of its planning and transport committee and finance and general purposes committee.
David said: “Having been elected to Castle Morpeth Council at the first attempt, I was immediately elected Liberal Democrat deputy leader and, as such, found myself taking part in discussions that led to an Independent/Liberal Democrat administration taking office.
“Some years later, as group leader, I was involved in similar discussions with the Labour group.
“Looking back on my time at this local authority, the biggest challenge it faced in respect of Morpeth was responding to the 2008 flood.
“Morpeth rallied in a remarkable way, so the council’s task of working with and supporting its people and businesses was comparatively easy. It was not of course an easy time for those directly affected, but hopefully they got the support that they needed.
“Since then, I had the delightful responsibility, given to me by the town council, of linking up with a national group to spearhead an attempt to get the Government to ensure that affordable flood risk insurance is available to those requiring it.
“I have had many different experiences in my adult life, but taking part in a Government working party had not previously been one of them.
“Being a councillor has been a great privilege and I thank all those who supported me over the past 18 years in giving me the opportunity of serving as their councillor.
“Morpeth is a wonderful place with a great sense of community.
“It has a very extensive ‘social infrastructure’, with many organisations and plenty of overlapping memberships.
“It makes the task of a local councillor so much easier – once you have become associated with one network, you quickly find yourself part of several more.”
“I now look forward to a somewhat quieter life – more time with my wife and family amongst other things.”
His other church roles included being an industrial chaplain in Lincoln and Newcastle and public policy advisor to the Anglican Diocese of Manchester and the Bishop of Manchester, and he has also been a school governor.