Forty years of working on the Norfolk Broads - ‘exceptional’ officer to step down
PUBLISHED: 15:38 26 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:38 26 July 2020
An “exceptional” Broads Authority officer has been hailed as she approaches the end of four decades of work to improve the waterways and environment.
Since joining the authority in 1979 as one of three members of staff, including the chief executive and secretary, now-governance officer Sandra Beckett has seen the group grow to around 150 members of staff, covering 125 miles of Norfolk and Suffolk rivers, Broads and the surrounding areas.
Now, 40 years after joining, Ms Beckett is set to bid farewell to the group following her retirement.
She said: “I can’t believe it has been 40 years until you start to look at all the changes that have happened over those years.
“I feel lucky to have been right at the heart of this pioneering organisation that’s been so closely aligned to my principles and cares so much about the environment.
“It was difficult to start with but under the leadership of the Authority’s first chief executive Aitken Clark, we worked hard to establish collaborative working relationships with our partners and advisers.”
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The trio initally shared a room at Broadland District Council, before becoming a statutory public authority in 1989, with their number of staff doubling overnight.
“In those days there weren’t any computers and we typed everything out on a typewriter. We had to be incredibly accurate and use Tipp-Ex on the odd occasion we made a mistake. There were no ways to track changes in your documents, just a red pen scrawled over any edited papers.”
The mother hailed the authority for their “forward-thinking on equality and flexible working.”
She said: “I left in 1989 on maternity leave and was expected to come back full time, but on my return I spoke to my chief executive and was allowed to work part-time, which meant I could raise my family at a time when other women had no such options.”
Chief executive John Packman said: “Sandra has been an exceptional employee and we shall all miss her hugely.
“Her 40 years with us have seen great improvements in the conditions in the Broads and big changes at the authority, through which she has remained a calm and diligent influence on all around her.
“Her knowledge and experience have proved immensely valuable in steering the authority through challenging times.”
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