Long-serving Saffron Walden town clerk to enjoy retirement

SAFFRON Walden’s long-serving town clerk is retiring from the post he has held “with distinction” for more than 30 years.

Malcolm White will step down from his role at Saffron Walden Town Council on August 31 – two days before his 60th birthday.

Town councillor Jim Ketteridge, a member of the panel which recruited Mr White in 1976, said he has “served the town with distinction”.

After qualifying as a librarian in 1972 and going on to work for councils in St Albans and Harlow, Mr White joined the town council “temporarily” until he could find a permanent post as a librarian.

Thirty-four years and more than 2500 council and committee meetings later, he has no regrets about sticking with the job.

“I am extremely proud of all the initiatives I have been involved in with the town council,” said Mr White. “I’ve had the great pleasure of working with many councillors and I can honestly say that they all have nothing but the best interests of the town at their heart.

“In Saffron Walden there are a large number of community-minded people working for the good of the town and this is best exemplified by the town council.”

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Mr White said he had seen many changes in the town, most notably the growth of its population from 10,000 to 15,000, but he believes he has played a role in ensuring that the character and atmosphere of the town has not been damaged.

“I’m proud to have been clerk of the council while it has been involved with a number of big projects, particularly the development of the Waitrose site in 1983/84,” said Mr White.

“Another stand-out initiative would be the building of Swan Meadow car park which, at the time, was very controversial, but I think people would now agree it was the right decision.”

A keen historian, Mr White published a history of the town in 1991 and has said he may use his retirement to write another book. He will also spend time with his family in Canada and generally enjoy meeting-free Wednesday evenings.

Mr White and his wife, Kate, will continue to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust – a charity close to their hearts since the death of their son, Tom.

“I will be sad to leave the town council but it’s the right time for me to go,” said Mr White. “It’s time for a younger, more dynamic person to take on the role.”

Saffron Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst said that, even through the more difficult periods of his life, Mr White had “never faltered in his duty to Saffron Walden” and wished him luck for the future.