IF YOU want to know the ins and outs of a council, then Geoff Rawling is your man.
As for the last 29 years he has recorded the minutes of thousands of meetings at Gosport Borough Council.
Now staff have bid farewell to the 61-year-old, who is retiring this month after years of being in charge of democratic services in the town.
Since 1983, Mr Rawling has looked after Gosport’s democratic process, looking after councillors, writing agendas and minutes and keeping an eye on the decisions that are made.
Mr Rawling said: ‘I have enjoyed my time with the council and I will miss all my colleagues.
‘But I’m looking forward to my retirement and what lies ahead.
‘It’s a blank canvas really because my wife has just retired so we’re going to feel our way through the next six months and see what happens.
‘I’m a bit sad to be leaving but elated at the same time because of what comes next.’
Mr Rawling joined Gosport’s council as a senior administrative assistant in 1983 after working for other authorities in the country.
In 1991 he became the committee and members services manager, looking after civic events such as mayormaking and remembrance ceremonies. After carrying out various other roles over the years he eventually became the head of democratic services in 2002 and has held the role ever since.
Mr Rawling added: ‘I have really enjoyed my time in Gosport, which has changed quite a bit.
‘I was only going to be here for two or three years but it is such an enjoyable place to be and my colleagues are like family.’
Mr Rawling was presented with an engraved medallion as a retirement gift from the mayor of Gosport, Cllr Richard Dickson, on Wednesday.
The council’s chief executive, Ian Lycett, said: ‘Geoff has been a model employee.
‘It is rare to be able say a colleague is universally liked and respected, but that is Geoff.
‘He will be greatly missed by officers and councillors and we all wish him a well-earned and happy retirement.’