The town clerk for Thetford, whose ‘strong and determined leadership’ has helped shape the community since she took over the role a year ago, has scooped a top accolade.
Tina Cunnell won the Town Clerk of the Year award for large councils from the Norfolk Association of Local Councils after her colleagues nominated her.
She said: “I had no idea I had won. Sarah Lewis, the deputy town clerk, kept it quiet for about 10 days and when I was about to be told I was tricked into thinking there was some sort of filming going on in the council building,
“I thought ‘there are a lot of people here for this’ and then they let me in on the surprise. It is just quite humbling.”
She has worked within the council for three years but took over the role a year ago after it suddenly became vacant and has already completed her Certificate in Local Council Administration.
She has helped with many projects in the town such as improving the market in Thetford by supporting the Venues Events and Marketing Manager to encourage people to take stalls. She has also helped to rejuvenate seven play parks that were given to the town council from Breckland Council.
Chair of the town council and mayor, councillor Denis Crawford, said: “Tina has been a great help and has been the best clerk we have had, that I can remember, since I started with the council.
“She is a driving force and so approachable for the public and councillors. It is a really refreshing point to have such a supportive clerk like Tina with us.”
Ms Cunnell was one of 18 candidates nominated in the small, medium and large councils categories and is the first ever winner for Thetford.
There is a prize for an overall winner but Ms Cunnell is not thinking about that.
She said: “I am quite happy with what I have got. It is still sinking in, with meetings and other things I haven’t had a chance to fully take it in.
“It is just nice that the people I work with think like that about me. Not many feel that way about their boss.”
The application form for the award sent in by the deputy town clerk said that Ms Cunnell’s achievements in the first 12 months of her appointment had been remarkable and her aspirations for the future of Thetford and its town council were ambitious but focused and – most importantly – exciting.
It also said that the quality that stands out is her strong and determined leadership and this has ensured the council has moved forward in 2017.
Ms Cunnell was already thinking about the bigger picture and what this could mean for the future persona of the town.
She said: “I hope this award is a positive thing for the town and raises our profile because of it.
“This, I hope, will help us do more great things for the future of Thetford.”