Sidmouth to say ‘bye’ to valued youth worker

SIDMOUTH will say a fond farewell to a committed youth worker on Friday.

Civic leaders honoured Mark Gerry with a certificate of service as he helped stage one last major Devon Youth Service fundraising event in the town.

Mark, 39, has supported young people in Sidmouth for nearly five years and will take up a new role in Newton Abbot next month.

“I’ve met some amazing young people here,” said Mark.

“There have been trips away and activities closer to home, but they always maintain enthusiasm in doing the right thing.

“A community clean up, carnival, beach cleans, cream teas, skate park renovation and The Arches Youth Project have all had immense backing of young people and the community.

“I have some excellent memories of work done in groups, in partnership with others, and on a one to one basis with some young people.

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“They have a resilience second to none during trying times and an infectious enthusiasm.”

Sidmouth Youth Council, one of just a few in the region, was set up under Mark’s watch and has gone from strength to strength.

Councillor Ann Liverton, the town council’s representative on the organisation, has worked closely with Mark over the years and praised his ‘energetic and totally committed’ outlook.

She said: “They say no one is irreplaceable, but Mark will be a hard act to follow. He has a terrific rapport with young people and seems to get the best out of them. They were all devastated to learn he was leaving.”

Cllr Liverton and town council chairman Stuart Hughes presented Mark with a certificate last Wednesday when youngsters enjoyed a fun day and car wash that raised more than �350.

The Herald reported last month how Penny Field, who works at Axminster, will run Sidmouth and Ottery youth centres.

Government cuts will see youth worker numbers in the county reduced from 28 to 20.