Four decades of service for village
HE has spent nearly four decades serving his community, battling bureaucracy and the power of the sea.
But as David Butcher surveyed the eroding beach next to his Corton home last week, it marked the end of his own efforts to defend the coastline – following his decision to step down after 37 years as a parish councillor.
During his time as a councillor, Mr Butcher, 68, has attended hundreds of meetings, studied thousands of minutes and spent countless hours working on behalf of fellow residents in what he describes as 'a lovely village'.
However, he said that three big issues had dominated his efforts.
As well as battling coastal erosion at Corton by helping to get a seawall and rock apron built, he also dealt with many complaints about the village's naturist beach which has been a regular source of concerns – and embarrassment – among locals.
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Mr Butcher has also, sadly in his view, seen his beloved rural parish became part of a Lowestoft town ward after it left the Lothingland ward in the last decade – despite 90 villagers protesting about the move to the Electoral Commission.
Mr Butcher, who moved to Corton in 1971 with his wife Ann, said: 'As a coastal community Corton has certainly faced several challenges. Corton is a lovely village with a real community feel to it. Despite everything, though, it has retained its strong sense of being a rural village and has not been swallowed up by Lowestoft.
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A former English teacher at Kirkley High School, Mr Butcher was also parish council chairman for four- and-a-half years and, as a keen local historian, he is working on two books about medieval Lowestoft and Lothingland.
Mr Butcher, who has two sons James and Jonathan and two grandchildren, Benjamin and Joshua, will also continue to have an input into Corton community life because – far from putting his feet up – he will continue to sit on the village playing field committee, help write the local newsletter, Coastline, and work on the Corton Woods project.
His hope now, he said, was that his long service might inspire other residents to take up the parish council mantle next year and help serve their community by filling two vacancies.
'I joined the parish council in 1973 as I firmly believe that you should get involved in community affairs wherever you live,' he said.