‘Driving force’ of Sidmouth community centre to retire at end of year

PUBLISHED: 07:03 29 October 2018

Jan Jones outside Stowford Rise Community Hall. Ref shs 43 18TI 3161. Picture: Terry Ife

Jan Jones outside Stowford Rise Community Hall. Ref shs 43 18TI 3161. Picture: Terry Ife

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The leading figures and ‘driving force’ behind a Sidmouth community centre will be stepping down at the end of the year.

Jan Jones outside Stowford Rise Community Hall. Ref shs 43 18TI 3160. Picture: Terry IfeJan Jones outside Stowford Rise Community Hall. Ref shs 43 18TI 3160. Picture: Terry Ife

Directors Jan Jones, Alex Lewis and Christine Drew will retire in December and are on the search for people to take over the thriving community hub,

Councillors have praised the trio’s hard work and chairman Jan was labelled an ‘inspiration’ for her active role over the last 10 years.

Jan said she loved the idea of the Stowford Community Centre since the idea was first born 20 years ago - as she had young grandchildren at the time. She joined the committee in 2008 after her husband died.

The 78-year-old said: “It’s been very fulfilling. It gives you a sense of being and a sense of being useful having something to be interested in. I have made friends with a lot of people. I have just loved running it. I want to be able to do other things. I am going to miss it big time and hopefully we will find directors.

“I hope people will come forward, I hope someone will be interested and love it as much as me, being with people. I am a people person and I like to be doing, being involved.”

Councillor Dawn Manley, who represents the Stowford area, praised Jan for her work as chairman and urged people to come forward to volunteer.

She said: “Jan is not one for blowing her own trumpet - she has come in with a desire to help the community.

“She has always been able to manage her own social life with the centre. It’s surprising what you can do when you can get involved. She is an inspiration to us all.”

Fellow directors Christine has acted as the centre’s secretary and Alex has been involved with the centre before it was built.

When they retire in December it will leave only one person as a director and new blood to come forward.

Stuart Hughes, the remaining director, said: “Jan and Alex have both worked tirelessly and have been the driving force for the community centre being involved since it’s inception. It isn’t easy dealing with some bookers of the facilities but as a director it has its rewards, and it is this that has driven them both forward and they can both retire as directors knowing that the community centre is in a good healthy position and that new directors coming on board to take up the running of the centre will have an excellent starting point to build on.”

If you are interested in volunteering email Jan on stowfordcommunity@btconnect.com or call 07788 277052.

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