There were tears and smiles yesterday, Tuesday, when Buckingham said goodbye to the friendly faces of Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC).
Sue Abraham and Monica Coates, who worked on the AVDC helpdesk in the Buckingham Centre, have both been made redundant following AVDC’s decision to close the area offices in both Buckingham and Winslow.
Buckingham’s new mayor, Lisa O’Donoghue, town councillors, staff and residents, presented the women with flowers on behalf of the people of Buckingham, to thank themfor their hard work over the years.
Mrs O’Donohue said: “Thank you for your service.
“I know you’re not employed by us but you’ve done an amazing job serving the people of Buckingham.
“You are going to be missed and it’s a massive shame that you’re going.”
Town councillor Mike Smith added: “There was an amazing groundswell of support for keeping you here.”
Mrs Abraham, who has worked for AVDC for 23 years, said: “It’s not my choice to go but I understand changes have to be made.
“I feel sorry for the elderly people of Buckingham and our loyal customers who always came in for us to help them.
“They knew they could always come in and find someone who would listen to their problems and point them in the right direction.”
Of her future plans, Mrs Abraham said: “I’m going to take the summer off. Both my daughters are teachers so I’m going to have a nice summer with them and then look for something.”
Town clerk Chris Wayman said the Buckingham Centre had been the only place in the county where people had access to town, district and county councils under one roof.
Helpdesk staff employed by AVDC and Bucks County Council (BCC) were cross-trained so they could assist people with queries concerning both councils.
Now, although BCC is retaining its helpdesk in the Buckingham Centre for the time being, its staff will no longer be allowed to help with AVDC queries.
People will instead be referred to a phone number or website, or advised to visit the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Buckingham resident Sarah Louise Johnston, who organised a petition against the helpdesk closure, brought in a handmade goodbye card for the staff.
She said: “I’m really very concerned about how we’re going to communicate with the council as a town.
“I know they need to save money but they don’t need to save money by stopping people accessing their services.”