Presiding officer celebrates 50 years at the polls

Cotswold Journal: Pat Hemming, who has given 50 years of service as polling clerk Pat Hemming, who has given 50 years of service as polling clerk

AS polling day approaches for the European elections, a presiding officer at Temple Guiting polling station is celebrating a huge milestone.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pat Hemming's first stint as a polling clerk, and she is believed to be one of the longest serving officials in the county.

The stalwart worked as a local government officer before moving into the academic sector and currently teaches speech and drama at St Edward’s School in Charlton Kings.

“Things may have changed quite a bit over the years but I believe it’s still important to use your vote, and I continue to get lot of satisfaction from being able to contribute to the democratic process," she said.

"Perhaps my most memorable moment was many years ago when I was at a polling station in the village of Snowshill - the place certainly lived up to its name because there was a localised snowstorm which caused drifts of up to four feet.

"The roads were completely obliterated around the area and I had visions of being stuck there for the night. However, a kind policeman led me back to safety and I was able to return the ballot box in time for the count."

Sarah Dalby, the Electoral Service Manager at CDC, said: “We rely on Pat and many other Presiding Officers and Poll Clerks to help us at elections, and we are very grateful to her for the service she has provided over the last 50 years.

"It’s great to hear that she still enjoys the task and we look forward to working with her for many years to come.”

During election day on Thursday, May 22 there will be 111 polling stations open across the Cotswold district from 7 am to 10pm.

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