THERE are new faces at Buckfastleigh Town Council with the former mayor stepping down and a new ranger being appointed.
Pam Barrett, councillor since since 2015, former chair/mayor and then deputy, has said goodbye to the town council so she can focus on running Be Buckfastleigh, the community organisation that she set up (as well as continuing to be the chair of Victoria Park).
A council spokesperson said: ‘A great force for positive change on the council and in the community, she will be sorely missed but will no doubt continue to do great things in this full-time role.’
Erin Kohler-Ockmore was co-opted as a town councillor last year and took on the deputy chairman/mayor role in January.
She has lived in the town for more than 10 years and been active in many local organisations such as the Friends of Buckfastleigh Library, The Seed health food store and South Devon Railway, where she volunteers as the station mistress at Staverton Station.
‘Since I moved to the town, it has been revitalised thanks to a range of civic and private initiatives.
‘My aim as a councillor, and now deputy mayor/chair, will be to promote this regeneration by supporting sustainable green projects, appropriate housing development, parking management and tourism.
‘Also taking over a new post is town ranger Gary Quest who was appointed last week.
‘The previous ranger, Ray Staines, was well-known throughout the parish and did a terrific job around town for two years.
‘Thank-you Ray! The town ranger carries out a whole range of important practical tasks around town such as cleaning street signs, removing graffiti, cutting back overgrown vegetation on public land, carrying out litter picks and clearing the leaves and debris from drains.
‘He is also a key member of the Volunteer Emergency Response Team.
‘Gary moved to the town in 2018 and has recently retired. As well as having a photography business, he owns and shows Chenrezi Tibetan Spaniels.
‘He has come to appreciate the community in Buckfastleigh and is looking forward to supporting it.
‘I believe community spirit is key to a town like Buckfastleigh and I hope to be able to help in improving and developing it through my work as Town Ranger.
‘A helping hand or sometimes just a chat is all that’s required.’
Say hello if you run into him.’