Respected councillor stands down after 30 years
COLLEAGUES and council staff have lined up to pay tribute to Minety councillor Carole Soden who is stepping down after three decades.
Described by Wiltshire Council deputy leader John Thomson as the reason he went into local politics, Cllr Soden was surprised at last week’s Malmesbury Area Board meeting with a special video.
In it ex-chief executive Keith Robinson detailed how one of his first jobs with her was to deal with a leaky roof at Minety Primary School. “She made it clear she wanted me to get up on the roof and look for myself,” he said.
“I think that just symbolises the passionate support she always gave her division.”
He added that it was easy for people in the Malmesbury area to feel detached from the council HQ in Trowbridge, but Cllr Soden made sure her area got the attention it deserved.
The former police authority deputy chairman was also praised by ex-chairman Christopher Hoare for her integrity and dedication. “I will miss her,” he said.
Council leader Jane Scott said Cllr Soden had supported her early career as a councillor while deputy leader John Thomson said: “It’s Carole’s fault that I got involved in politics.”
She was helping him with a planning issue and suggested he should stand as a councillor.
Fellow board member Cllr Toby Sturgis, who took over part of her old division when the district and county councils were replaced by a unitary authority in 2009 said: “Everywhere I went people talked about the work Carole had done for different people.”
Cllr Soden, who is chairman of the Children’s Select Committee, said: “It has just been such a huge part of my life. I have been privileged to represent this super area. I have met some fantastic people during the 30 years.”
For much of her career she was involved in education and she plans to keep in touch in retirement. “I’m hoping my local schools won’t mind me popping in sometimes to see them,” she added.