Interview - Derek Ferris
  • Derek Ferris was the Chairman of Sherington Parish Council until May 1999. He had been a Sherington Parish Councillor for 24 years. He decided to retire in 1999.
  • This interview was published in the February 1999 issue of Milton Keynes Council's magazine, The Messenger.
Photo of Derek Ferris
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  • Q. How do you think being a parish councillor of a rural area is different from being an urban parish councillor?

    Because the population of Sherington is relatively small and intransient effectively compromising of an isolated settlement, it is a very close knit community, with a strong sense of individual identity. Many aspects of modern life present potential challenges to our village way of life which are quite different from an urban situation. In Sherington, parish councillors are a representative team. A catalyst for the community, which also endeavours to lead by example whenever the opportunity is appropriate.

  • Q. How much time do you spend doing parish business?

    On average 8-10 hours per week, mostly spent discussing issues with individual residents, other councillors or reading the correspondence received, any of which can involve a diverse range of topics.

  • Q. What type of person would make a good parish councillor?

    Sometimes being a parish councillor can be a thankless task but this is unimportant in comparison to the sense of achievement on behalf of the community, however small, however seldom. Any person from any walk of life who can identify with this ethos and is prepared to articulate and communicate on behalf of others is an ideal candidate.

  • Q. What can parish councils like Sherington achieve?

    In short, most things which they set their mind to with support of the village. We are currently proposing to extend the village hall. We helped to organise the campaign against the closure of one of the two village pubs, both of which are important meeting places, in such a small community. We have built our own bus shelter in local stone which is being used as an example by other villages. The parish council must always keep abreast of all development proposals and ensure that the views and needs of the community are best served. Our tree and bulb planting programmes are also ongoing.

  • Q. After 24 years as a parish councillor why are you calling it a day this year?

    I think it is time for someone with a fresh approach to come forward. The parish elections in May this year have provided an opportunity for my retirement, but should the new council need help or advice I shall be around as a 'public backbencher' along with other residents who regularly attend and participate in council meetings.

  Latest update:   12 October 2003
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