Search

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

Sandra Beckett at the Broads Authority 30th anniversary event in 2019. PHOTO: Broads Authority

Sandra Beckett at the Broads Authority 30th anniversary event in 2019. PHOTO: Broads Authority

Archant

An “exceptional” Broads Authority officer has been hailed as she approaches the end of four decades of work to improve the waterways and environment.

Sandra Beckett and the first Broads Authority CEO Aitken Clark in 1987. PHOTO: Broads AuthoritySandra Beckett and the first Broads Authority CEO Aitken Clark in 1987. PHOTO: Broads Authority

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.

Broads Authority governance officer Sandra Beckett. PHOTO: Broads AuthorityBroads Authority governance officer Sandra Beckett. PHOTO: Broads Authority

“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.”

You may also want to watch:

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.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press