THE clerk of Oxenhope Parish Council has announced she is to retire after 14 years in the role.

Elaine Pearson confirmed at a meeting of the council last night (Dec 14) that she will be leaving at the end of February next year.

Mrs Pearson said: "During the 14 years I've been clerk to Oxenhope Parish Council, I've been extremely proud to have been part of a team who continually strive to make Oxenhope a better place to live, work and play.

"So why do I want to retire at 54? Well because I can and because I want to spend more time with my husband, David, who retired 18 months ago and if it is possible, to play even more golf than I do now!"

Mrs Pearson, who has also served as a regional development officer for the National Association of Local Councils, reflected on her experiences of first becoming a clerk, noting that back then she had little knowledge of what the job entailed.

To address this she completed a course to become a fully qualified clerk, in between visiting her father in hospital after he was nearly killed in a glider accident.

She said highlights of her time as clerk included Oxenhope Parish Council becoming the first "Quality Council" in West Yorkshire, her involvement in the Participatory Budgeting scheme which allows local groups to pitch for funding, the putting together of the Oxenhope Parish Plan in 2006 and her sense of achievement whenever she secured external funding for the village.

"I've enjoyed my years as clerk and responsible financial officer, and I’d like to thank current and past members of the parish council, for their encouragement and support that allowed me to grow into the role," she added.

Paying tribute to Mrs Pearson's contribution, parish council chairman Councillor Ken Eastwood told her: "What a loss you're going to be. Thanks for everything you've done in the time you've been here."