'Voice of reason' Steve retires from parish council after 43 years
A PARISH councillor who has retired after serving the community for 43 years was praised for his “significant and invaluable” contribution.
Steve Cattell (77) moved to Minstead after marrying his wife Pat 55 years ago and soon immersed himself in village life.
As well as being chair of the parish council, he was a member of the housing association and worked with locals for around 10 years to get new homes built in Church Close.
A socially distanced farewell presentation was held on the village green to thank Steve for his hard work over the years.
He told the A&T: “I get a bit embarrassed about it really, as I don’t really feel I’ve done anything special – it’s just what you do when you live in a village.
“I have always liked living in Minstead and just wanted to give something back.”
In the 1980s when the carnival committee folded, Steve came up with the idea of holding a fete on the village green, which has been held annually ever since – except this year due to Covid-19.
He was involved in running the youth club at the village hall and was stage manager for the Minstead Players for many years.
He has also spent many years involved with the Minstead Flower Show and was a member of the village’s social club committee.
Cllr Helen Bennett, the second longest-serving parish councillor, told the A&T: “His knowledge of the footpaths and the water courses around Minstead, along with his encyclopaedical knowledge of the history of the village, have been invaluable to the council over the years.
“We would like to thank Steve for his contribution to both the council and village in general over the last 43 years – it has been significant and invaluable.”
Council chair Cllr Bill Andrews added: “Steve has been a strength behind this council for the best part of almost half a century. He has been an example, an encourager and a trainer to old and new councillors alike.
“He was always the calm voice of reason and local knowledge in any discussion and his inevitably correct opinion would usually prevail.”
He added: “Steve participated in and supported many diverse community causes, from village amateur dramatics to funding and building schools in Nepal.
“He almost always either organised or turned out for any event or function in the village, and we have all benefited from his time, his generous spirit and his kindly advice. We wish him a very happy retirement. He will be sorely missed.”