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Rare honour for Viv after parish council service

PUBLISHED: 11:44 13 August 2017

Viv Wathen receiving his award with fellow Yatton Parish Council members.

Viv Wathen receiving his award with fellow Yatton Parish Council members.

Yatton Parish Council

A Yatton villager has been handed honorary freemanship for his many years serving the parish.

Viv Wathen was born in the village and was bestowed the award in recognition of almost 50 years serving the parish council.

He was presented with an award at a specially convened meeting last month.

A citation was read out at the ceremony and explained he was the youngest of three children, with an older brother and sister.

It said: “He was married in Yatton Church in the mid-1960s and by the late 60s decided to stand for a place on the parish council.”

However, the village was considerably different to the one many Times readers will know today.

Viv was a railway worker, like his father and grandfather before him, but the industry changed dramatically during the mid 20th century.

The Clevedon and Cheddar Valley lines were both closed at that time – something which came as a huge disappointment to Viv and his family.

There was also no Hangstones pavilion, with the parish council meeting in the village hall,

The citation went on to say: “Driving from one end of Mendip Road to the other would have involved a trip through a wall and an orchard and a field near Elborough Street.

“The village had a large quarry at one end and a large gas holder at the other, construction of the M5 motorway nearby was on course and there were at least five school sites in operation.

“When Viv joined the council in 1969, he never could have imagined that he’d still be here in 2017.

“The railway line is now faster, traffic along the High Street has increased to unprecedented levels and many of Viv’s beloved childhood fields have been built on.

“The quarry and the gas holder are long gone and the Yatton Junior School site has expanded to take in all pupils, up to age 11, and the private schools sites have shut.”

Viv’s honorary freemanship was commemorated in a frame for him and presented to him in front of fellow council members.

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