Standing ovation for Trina Jarrett, Sidmouth’s second ever freeman, as she retires

The “ROCK of Sidmouth Town Council” for a quarter of a century was made the Sid Valley’s second-ever freeman at a moving farewell ceremony on Monday.

Civic leaders hailed Trina Jarrett the “clerk of all clerks” and gave her a standing ovation as she was awarded a scroll, town shield and a panorama of Sidmouth in recognition of her service to the community.

“It’s just like The Oscars,” said Mrs Jarrett, who retired in April.

Her contribution as the senior administrator of the council was recognised at its annual meeting.

She thanked 60 people who had made her time on the council, since 1987, “25 years of sheer bliss”.

As town clerk since 1989, her passion and “her baby” was promoting the town through the Sidmouth Town Guide.

She won funding for Christmas lights, the skateboard park, the playground at Ham and the Jurassic Coast Interpretation Centre.

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In an emotional tribute, Councillor Graham Liverton said Mrs Jarrett, who’d supported 13 different chairmen, had been “the rock of the council”. “She fought long and hard for Sidmouth and was a first class ambassador for the town,” he said. He fondly recalled funny moments they had shared - such as when Mrs Jarrett helped him dress as a pantomime dame.

“Emblazoned on her heart are the words ‘I love Sidmouth’,” he added.

Cllr Ann Liverton recalled a romantic weekend in Paris with her husband during which she was dispatched by Mrs Jarrett to a remote tourism office to deliver copies of the town guide. On another occasion, Mrs Jarrett sped off in her Porsche, marigolds at the ready, after reports of dog mess at a town beauty spot.

“Her enthusiasm knows no bounds,” said Cllr Liverton. “She supported us not only nationwide but worldwide.”

She thanked Trina for her “immense loyalty” to town councillors and their projects and compared her to a “stick of rock, with Sidmouth running right through her”.

Trina extended her thanks to the Sidmouth and District Hospitality Association and the chamber of commerce. One of the first items on the agenda following her retirement is her long-awaited honeymoon.

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