The town clerk of Helston has described the last 16 years overseeing the daily life of the town he was born in as a "magical" as he prepares to take early retirement.

Chris Dawson has given notice to the town council that he plans to retire at the end of the year, on December 31.

It was revealed at Thursday's council meeting when former councillor Keith Reynolds wished Mr Dawson a happy retirement.

Mr Dawson told the Packet he came to realise over the last 12 weeks in lockdown that the time was right, explaining: "Suddenly, with everything that has been going on, you take stock and you think life is too short.

"I've been in this post for 16 years this month and I've worked 37 years in local government employment."

He was appointed clerk of Helston Town Council in 2004 and during that time has seen it win a number of awards, including Quality Gold status with the Local Council Award Scheme in 2017, which is still in place, as well as runner up National Council of the Year the same year and runner up Project of the Year, for the Helston & the Lizard Works scheme, at the National Association of Local Councils’ 2016 Star Awards.

Read more: Helston Town Council shortlisted in the Council of the Year Award

Before that he worked for Carrick District Council, then Cornwall Council, Cornwall College and back to Carrick as a committee clerk before coming to Helston.

Mr Dawson was born in Helston's Penberthy Road, the son of June Dawson (nee Treloar), and the first mayor he worked with was Paul Phillips - who coincidentally taught him to drive, some years earlier.

"I've worked with some lovely staff and had seven or eight different mayors I've worked under.

"There's never a dull moment, that's all I can say," he said.

Falmouth Packet:

Chris Dawson (right) with mayor John Martin at a ceremony to make John Eddy and Dr Ken Whittle Honorary Freemen in February

"To be able to do this job in my town of birth has just been magical."

He described one of his proudest moments during his time on the council as being invited to dance the Midday Dance on Flora Day, with his wife Donna, in the first set behind the second band.

"I was really privileged to dance with my wife, Ronnie Williams and [his wife] Deb - that was just amazing. I really appreciated that.

"I danced through the Children's Dance and Morning Dance, but it was an ambition to dance the Midday and it was lovely to be in that," he said, adding that his parents had actually met while dancing the Flora Day, with this father one of eight servicemen stationed at RNAS Culdrose to be invited that year.

He and Donna now hope to emigrate to Portugal - although at the moment, with the current travel restrictions, they have not even been able to fly out to look at properties.