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Thank you Joyce!

Award-winning community councillor calls it a day after three decades

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By Zac Hannay
Annan and Eskdale
Thank you Joyce!

ANNAN stalwart Joyce Wylie announced her retirement from the town’s community council following 30 years of service.

The great-grandmother of four, who turns 80 on Wednesday, has dedicated a significant proportion of her life to charity work and helping to improve the town.

Now she has decided that the time is right to step aside and let others take over.

Joyce recalls joining the group not too long after travelling to Watermael-Boitsfort in 1989 when a contingent from Annan went over to Belgium to establish a twinning of the two towns.

She moved to Annan from Ecclefechan with her husband George 50 years ago. The pair have been happily married for 62 years, running businesses together including PM Haugh newsagents, Annan Squash Club and latterly The Blue Bell, which is now managed by their daughter Charmaine Kerr.

Over the years Joyce has held every office position on the community council and been involved with countless notable events in the town. The Millenium and the Queens platinum jubilee last year are two that spring to mind.

She said: “It seems to have flown by and I have enjoyed the majority of it.

“At the time we had a lot of business connections in the town and I just wanted to help.

“I was also really interested in what happens in the town.

“Annan has changed quite a lot since I joined.”

“I used to give the message from the town hall at New Year just after midnight. All of the big occasions I thoroughly enjoyed.”

In 2016, Joyce travelled to London with her family to receive the British Citizen Award in recognition of her services to the community and various charities.

Joyce said: “It was a great day and a very humbling experience.

“What I do I enjoy. I’m not looking for any certificates or awards.”

Her work, alongside the other volunteers, on the community council includes handing out poppies to schools and shops for the poppy appeal, looking after the Jubilee Gardens, the young citizen award and the Christmas window competition to name just a few.

In recent years, the community council in Annan, like many others, has been struggling for members and Joyce desperately hopes younger people can get involved.

She said: “When I first joined everybody was always there and you got a lot of people from the public coming along with complaints.

“The community council was the platform for people with grievances. “I think it’s an age thing, young people are not coming in and we definitely need young blood.

“The majority of people really appreciate what the community councillor’s do. You have a voice in the town and it’s well worth young folk coming on to speak for the townsfolk.

“I think with it being a voluntary role could be a reason, because it can take up a lot of your time. When you’re retired that doesn’t matter.

“Young voices would really help the town.

“All the community councils seem to be in danger. It needs new life breathed into it – could it be done on social media?”

Nevertheless, Joyce says the town sits in safe hands with different groups all brimming with ideas and an eagerness to make a positive difference. She will also be on hand to offer any help should it be required.

Joyce added: “I’ll be there if they need any advice. Over the years I’ve gained a lot of local knowledge.

“With the harbour group, the bridges group, the history town, the riding of the marches and everything else, Annan is in safe hands. But they should all be working together.”

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