‘Westwood Room’ retirement tribute

A RETIREMENT celebration for Kevin Westwood was held at the Town Hall on November 8 to thank him for his 34 years of service to Wells City Council.

Kevin retired on health grounds in September having been diagnosed with cancer. But he still goes to work on a voluntary basis when help is required, and is always available on the phone.

There was an emotional moment during the retirement event when Mayor Tanys Pullin removed a covering over the doors to what was known as the Old Court Room, to reveal a plaque above the doors showing that the room has been named The Westwood Room in Kevin’s honour.

Before a buffet lunch in The Westwood Room, Town Clerk Steve Luck thanked Kevin for his dedication and hard work during an address to the invited guests, and flowers were presented to Kevin’s wife Debbie.

Speaking the next day, Kevin said: “Working at the Town Hall was not a job, but a way of life. Working there is like being part of a big family. We all help each other. We look after each other and make it all work. That’s what I will miss most.

“And it was phenomenal that they should name a room in the Town Hall after me. They could not have done anything more special for me.”

Kevin Westwood with family, friends and other invited guests at the retirement celebration in Wells Town Hall’s Westwood Room

A former Horrington Primary and Blue School pupil, Kevin got his first job at the then Clares workwear factory behind the Town Hall. He went on to work at the Mendip Hospital in South Horrington before he was employed as a caretaker at the Town Hall. He took on more responsibilities until he became the Town Hall Manager.

His retirement present to himself is a Mini Cooper, “a type of car I have always loved, and I bought it after my diagnosis because that car makes me smile”.

He says that he is “the biggest Lego fan in the world”, and has been collecting it for ten years.

Kevin is now planning a fundraising concert with singer Tim Pitman for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Nurses. “Their nurses were amazing, as was the Royal United Hospital in Bath,” he said.

And he said: “My family and everyone at the Town Hall have been super supportive, and I am so grateful.”

Town Clerk Steve Luck said: “Kevin has given 34 years’ service to the city council and transformed the Town Hall into the modern functioning community building it is today.

“He has been a major member of the Town Hall staff family and has always gone beyond to help people.”

To show support for Kevin and his fight against cancer, three city council staff members took part in a skipping challenge to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Claire Woodland, Sandy Bristow and Dale Bray each completed 100 skips a day in October, and between them have raised more than £400 for the charity.

At Kevin’s retirement celebration, flowers were also presented to Tina Blackwill, whose husband Andy, a member of staff at the city council, died from cancer earlier this year.