SOMEONE who has done much for Crediton over the years stood down this year from Mid Devon District Council after 40 years.

David Pugsley joined the council at its very beginning when it was known as Tiverton District Council, to the intense annoyance of many people in Crediton.

Cllr David Pugsley presenting the prizes at Zeal Monachorum Flower Show in September 1999.  DSC00343
Cllr David Pugsley presenting the prizes at Zeal Monachorum Flower Show in September 1999. DSC00343 (Crediton Courier)

He commented: “I used to think the old farts would get in the way and now I am an old fart and am getting out of the way for younger people.”

David was first elected to Mid Devon District Council in 1975, a year after local government reorganisation.

He served as an Independent for an unbroken 32 years and a total of 40 years after twice losing his seat and twice regaining it  between 2007 and 2023.

Born in Tiverton, he had cycled much of the area, knew it well and was annoyed at some of the decisions being taken.  

He had been working with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg between 1969-1972.  The Iron Curtain had come down, it was very different times. 

“After the national shake-up in 1974, it was Tiverton District Council for two or three years, Crediton was not happy about that.  Someone in Crediton said ‘let’s have a vote to change the name,’ this was passed.

“Three Rivers District Council was suggested because of the Creedy, Exe and Culm.  It got called Mid Devon,” David explained. 

“Crediton had lost its Urban District Council and its Rural District Council, both based in the town, to become a town council and part of what is now Mid Devon.”

Having been in South Africa and learned Afrikaans, half-way between Dutch and English,  David was particularly interested in the exchanges between Dokkum in the Netherlands and Crediton.

He became more involved when he was district council chairman because neither Crediton Town Council chairman nor vice chairman were able to take part when the Dokkum contingent came to the town.    

David also opened the swimming pool at Lords Meadow Leisure Centre in 1998, was chairman of the district council between 1998 and 2000 and Leader from 2003 to 2005 and chairman again from 2006 to 2007.

“We walked the Two Moors Way.  I wanted Angela Browning, then our MP, to set us off which she did at 8am from near Chagford. 

“Michael Lee walked the whole way with us and Margaret Squires.  We got to Witheridge at 6pm that day having stopped at Black Dog for tea.  Other people walked as well such as Jenny Roach,” he said. 

Being a keen walker, David began the Chairman’s Walks to use the footpaths all over the district, reconnoitring beforehand. 

He says he enjoyed his connections in this area including a Civic Service at Morchard Bishop and Chairman’s Reception to say “thank you” to the local people. 

“I worked for 43 years, I was a councillor for 40 years and have been a member of Rotary for 40 years.  I used to do a lot of cycling and ought to do more again.” David said.

At Cullompton, David helped raise more than £100,000 for Cullompton Church. 

His family can be traced back to the 14th century in South Molton in later times, his grandfather moved to Tiverton in the 19th century and David now lives six miles from where he was born.

He and his wife have four children and two grandchildren and he is now looking forward to more time for the garden and more time for cycling.