LONG-STANDING Dawlish councillor Ros Prowse has said goodbye after more than two decades of public service.

A stalwart of both Dawlish Town Council and Teignbridge Council, former mayor Ros, now aged 78, has been looking back at her years as a serving member of both local authorities.

Her abiding memory will be of meeting amazing people.

She said: ‘I found out just how good people are about putting themselves out to help others.

‘The best moments were meeting these amazing people.

‘I learned a great deal.

‘I put in the effort and it was appreciated, it’s a two way thing.

‘I want to thank everyone who has voted for me and supported me over the last 20 years.

‘I could have done nothing without those people.’

Her firm belief is that politics has no role to play in local authorities.

She explained: ‘I believe very strongly the town council, despite me being a member of the Conservative party, should not be political.

‘Town councils should be there to support and help its residents and that is really important to me.

‘Being a town councillor, for me, was a 24/7 role.’

Beloved for her vast collection of hats, Ros was the proud owner of 70 headpieces at one time.

Dawlish Museum even put on a display of the collection and she was known to give talks about hats and why she wears them.

She said: ‘I love hats, I was brought up by my mother to wear hats, it was part of making and effort to look the part.’

Most have since been donated the charity with money raised going to Cancer Research.

But she still owns her personal favourites, including a Fedora and insists the only one she paid full price for was the one she wore to a Buckingham Palace garden party.

First elected to the town council in 2003, she was then persuaded to stand for Teignbridge District Council four years later when former county councillor John Clatworthy stood down.

Elected as Mayor for the year 2007 to 2008, she attended more than 400 events during her 12 months in office.

She recalled: ‘When I got to the end of my year, I said I had given my all and could never better it.

‘I attended more than 400 events and on one Saturday, I changed four times during the day to go to different things.

‘I believe everything I did deserved my respect and that is what it was all about.

‘People appreciated the effort.But I was exhausted at the end of that year.

‘I pledged with my charities to support the young and the old and those in the middle could support themselves.’

She raised almost £2,000 which went to Dawlish Disability Transport and what went on to become the Red Rock Youth Centre.

In 2014, Ros was elected as chairman of Teignbridge Council, a position which saw her travel across Devon representing the district.

It was the same year Dawlish was devastated by the destructive storms which breached the line, washing it away into the sea and cutting off the whole of the south west by rail for almost two months.

Ros remembered: ‘My aim then was to support people in need and we had so many left homeless.

‘I helped support by using my funding for lunches and we held fundraising events to raise money for things like cleaning equipment.’

During her time in office, she has been a staunch advocate for the railway, serving as a representative of Teignbridge on Devon County Council.

She said: ‘The railway is vital to the south west and we realised quite how vital is it in 2014.

‘I have always been vocal about having a lift installed and now it is.

‘I am quite proud of the fact I kept pushing for that.’

During her chairmanship, she and husband John also represented Teignbridge at a Buckingham Palace Garden party.

After living in Dawlish for 54 years, Ros’ heart is still in the town.

She said: ‘I will miss everything but it is time for others to learn now and I am very grateful for everything I have done.’