Donna Ford, who has worked for Midsomer Norton Town Council for the past five years, has today (officially) announced her resignation as Town Clerk.

Donna told The Journal: "It is with a heavy heart that I decided recently to resign from my position as Town Clerk here in Midsomer Norton, and so I would like to express my gratitude for having the opportunity to work for Midsomer Norton Town Council for the last five years.

"I have learned so much while working for Midsomer Norton Town Council, and with my amazing colleagues. When looking back on what we have achieved for the Town, I feel very proud of how far the Town Council has come. We started off with the ground-breaking asset transfer, when history was made in 2019 following the return by Bath & North East Somerset Council to Midsomer Norton Town Council, the ownership of the Town Hall, Somer Centre, Silver Street Nature Reserve and land at the entrance to the Town Park, as well as a 99-year lease on the Orchard Hall.

"As a result of this asset transfer I was awarded the prestigious accolade of ‘Clerk of the Year’ at the National Association of Local Councils Award held in Milton Keynes, being singled out from over 7,000 Clerks in the UK so this was a fabulous achievement, for which I was over the moon! Not just for myself but for the town.

"We then started work on the Town Park, which is now a fully useable area, enjoyed by many. The Town Park area includes wonderful walks, an amphitheatre that can seat approximately 300 people, a Sensory Garden, a Celebration Meadow for town events, a river walk, a Wild Meadow, walks up to the Norton Hill batch and links to the cycleway. It is a wonderful addition to the Towns’ range of green spaces, and we were very pleased to host the Town Council Easter event, and Jubilee celebrations there last year.

"We have also started work on improvements to the green space at Wellow Brook Walk. These works include a new pathway and various accessibility improvements. Vegetation will be cleared under ecological guidance to provide a view of the brook, and new seating and a picnic bench have been installed, new information signs and a maps of the area will soon be available. The Garden of Friendship, which sits in the grounds of the Church of the Holy Ghost, has also been opened up and has seen improvement works to the paths and hedge. Funding towards this project was awarded from the Ward Councillor Empowerment Fund.

"We have also made improvements at West Clewes including new play equipment, teen shelter and the installation of a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) on the site, along with the installation of cycle stands. The MUGA was funded by S106 funding, a National Lottery Award and a contribution from West Clewes Trust, and is now fully open and free for all residents to use.

"During my time here at Midsomer Norton Town Council, I am pleased to say that we have received a prestigious award as part of the Local Council Award Scheme - the Quality Gold Award. This achievement recognised that Midsomer Norton Town Council achieves good practice in governance, community engagement and council improvement, and moreover, goes above and beyond their legal obligations, leading their communities and continuously seeking opportunities to improve and develop even further.

"Myself and the team, were also thrilled to add to the long established Christmas Senior Citizen's party, by providing Christmas events to the youngsters in the town, by way of a Children’s Christmas party and teen Christmas Cinema Night. The Children’s Christmas party has gone from strength to strength over the years, and we even had to increase capacity demand was so high this last Christmas. Although the teen events were not as well attended as the children’s party, we were pleased to provide a financial contribution to Youth Connect South West for their Christmas youth activities last year.

"Ongoing projects and work behind the scenes are continuing with the High Street and The Island. The full business case submission for the development of The Island was approved, and as such, the new Market Square has been awarded the funding we had hoped for. Last but not least, works are continuing on the transformation of the Town Hall, with the exciting prospect of a brand new Market Hall venue, and community hub for Midsomer Norton. The work and drive that has gone into this project behind the scenes has been immense and I am very much looking forward to returning to the town for the grand reopening event.

"I would like to wish the residents of Midsomer Norton, and everyone at the Town Council, continued growth and success – working together as a team for the local people they represent."

At a Full Council Meeting last night (Monday, 9th January), Independent Councillor Shaun Hughes voiced concerns over the loss of Midsomer Norton's Town Clerk, stating she is a "real asset to the Town Council" and has a "proven track record" of completing projects.