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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Carlisle Mayor's assistant retires after 40 years

Carlisle’s mayor may change every year but one person has remained consistent for the past 40 years – until now.

Pamela Martin photo
Pamela Martin

On Monday, Pamela Martin will retire from her long-held role as an assistant to Carlisle’s mayors at the city council.

It marks the end of an era – one which has seen her work with a total of 40 different mayors, or 41 if you count newly-appointed Steven Bowditch – and meet everyone from royalty to the city’s local heroes.

Pamela has proved invaluable to every mayor, with her responsibilities ranging from organising civic events to keeping on top of their hectic diary of engagements.

Over the years she has worked days, nights and weekends – and has even received awards for her dedication to the mayoralty in Carlisle.

But after 40 years Pamela has decided it is time to retire.

“I have really enjoyed it. I’ve been lucky to attend a terrific variety of events,” she said.

She landed the job through a combination of hard work and luck.

Pamela, 61, of Stanwix, Carlisle, attended Stanwix Primary School and later the Creighton and Margaret Sewell School, which merged with Carlisle Grammar School to become Trinity.

She left in 1969 and spent a year at Carlisle Technical College training to be a shorthand typist before landing a job in the town clerk’s department at what was then the City and County Borough of Carlisle – now the city council. She later became personal assistant to the town clerk, taking on mayoral responsibilities and eventually moving to her current post of mayoral and civic officer in 2003.

“I’ve only ever applied for two jobs and got both,” joked Pamela.

Working with 41 mayors – who each attend 350 to 400 engagements a year, or up to 500 in busy years – and six town clerks, her role has been one of great variety.

However she remains tight-lipped about whether or not she has ever had a favourite. “Every mayor is different and has different ways of doing things. Some are retired and some are working, so you have to work around their commitments. I do go to a lot of events. If we’ve organised them I do try to attend. It’s not really a nine to five job,” she said.

Her highlights include visits by The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to Carlisle Cathedral in 1978 then again to Tullie House and Carlisle Castle in 2002.

She also met the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1986, when Prince Charles was made a Freeman of the City. On that occasion Pamela was presented to the royal couple as they made their way to the reception.

A couple of years earlier, in 1984, she attended a royal garden party with the then-mayor and mayoress Ian and Pat Stockdale, and was given a tour of the Houses of Parliament by Ron Lewis, who was the Carlisle MP at the time.

But there have also been some sad times, including 2005 Carlisle floods which devastated the city, and the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak. She has also been responsible for opening books of condolences following the deaths of both royal figures and leading local figures.

But on the whole it has been a greatly fulfilling role which has seen her meet people from all walks of life and play a key role in Carlisle’s civic life.

She plans to spend her retirement enjoying her three hobbies – walking, gardening and travelling, with the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow her first port of call.

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