POPULAR town clerk Helen Tague retired from Fordingbridge Town Council this week after 31 years of service to the town.

Helen, 60, who was born and raised in Fordingbridge and has always lived in the town, started working for the town council in August 1978 and in 1983 she took over as clerk.

There have been many interesting moments in her service to the town such as when she joined Cllr Jean Willis for a trip to the Buckingham Palace garden party.

“It was smashing. We went up in a Rolls Royce with our own chauffeur with white gloves and peaked cap.

“We saw so many of the royals. We were in touching distance of Prince Charles and Prince Philip.”

The weekend of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, which was also the 20th anniversary of Fordingbridge’s twinning with Vimoutiers in France was another enjoyable occasion in Helen’s life as a town clerk.

“I was chairman of the twinning association. Roads were closed and the French brought over a dancing troupe. It was a wonderful weekend with a special dinner at Burgate School for the 20th anniversary.”

Cllr Jean Willis, who has been mayor of Fordingbridge and chairman of the council six times said: “She has been the perfect town clerk and her qualities are boundless. She is discrete, diplomatic and always keeps her cool despite anything that comes her way.

“She is also involved in the community in many ways.”

Helen is married to Trevor and has two children, Rachel and Christopher and a 19- month-old grandson, Samuel.

She is a member of St Mary’s Church, she has been a trustee for the alms houses, a secretary to the business forum, a member of the flower club, and at one time she was a mentor for other town clerks.

“There isn’t much she hasn’t been involved in,” said cllr Willis. “I really can’t say too much in her praise. I have valued her second to none, she has never let anybody down.”

Helen, who has always lived in Fordingbridge, said: “I tell everybody I’d like a little break now.”

She enjoys walking, gardening and flower arranging and intends to have a go at painting in her retirement.