Former Exmouth district councillor given MBE for services to politics and the community

PUBLISHED: 22:30 27 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:20 30 December 2019

Exmouth Community Transport chairman Jill Elson with one of their buses. Picture: Exmouth Community Transport

Exmouth Community Transport chairman Jill Elson with one of their buses. Picture: Exmouth Community Transport

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An Exmouth woman who dedicated nearly four decades of her life to serving East Devon communities has received royal recognition.

Jill Elson was named on The Queen's New Year's Honours list for political and community services and will receive an MBE.

This award comes after she was named an honorary alderman by East Devon District Council after serving as a councillor for 36 years.

She has also been involved with the town's community transport group - which provides a valuable, lifeline service for those with special transport needs - since its creation in 1990.

During her time on the district council, Miss Elson held three different cabinet portfolios and chaired three other committees including the Exmouth town committee and the tourism and transportation committee.

She served the district council until the elections in May 2019.

Miss Elson also spearheaded a campaign to raise the initial £15,000 for the district council share of the community transport scheme, which benefits Exmouth and the surrounding villages as well as Budleigh Salterton.

The group now has three vehicles and is currently fundraising to pay for a new vehicle to replace a 16-seater bus which is 'beginning to fail maintenance wise'.

In response to the news of her MBE, she said:

"I feel very honoured to receive this award for helping and working with others, to help, advise and guide many local people in the community especially those with difficulties.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my work and time as an elected Member of East Devon District Council for 36 years, representing local people.

"I worked with other colleagues to achieve having an indoor competition pool in Exmouth, making sure East Devon kept its housing stock, building 'affordable homes', working with many housing associations to provide as many homes as possible for local people with the excellent officers of EDDC and helping people who were homeless or about to become homeless, or their homes were not suitable or uninhabitable."

"I am proud of creating the Exmouth and District Community Transport Group charity in 1990 to enable people who are unable to access public transport because of a mobility problem or distance to nearest bus stop with wheelchair accessible vehicles.

"People are picked up at home and returned there, for them to be able to do their own shopping, go to lunch with others, trips, medical appointments, family events etc, so preventing social isolation and loneliness.

"I joined the Governors of Exmouth Community College in 1995 and have been Chairman of Finance, Chairman and currently Chairman of Resources. This large College provides education for our local young people to reach their individual potential and are the future, for which we must take into account, by helping them to the best of our ability."

For more information about the services Exmouth Community Transport provides, go to the charity's website

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