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Posted On: 21-06-2023
Posted In: Community

On Wednesday 24 May former Crediton Mayor of 13 years, and current Crediton Councillor, Frank Letch, was unanimously elected as the Chairman of Mid Devon District Council. As well as Chair of the Council Frank will continue his duties as District and County Councillor.

Speaking at the Annual meeting Councillor Letch said,

“I wanted to thank everyone who participated in the recent May elections. Voting matters and I promise the residents of Mid Devon I will make that case as the face and voice of Mid Devon District Council. I’m delighted to have been chosen as Chairman but I think my grandson will be even more pleased now I have another Chain of Office!"

Frank was firstly elected to Mid Devon District Council in 2015 and to Devon County Council in 2021. Because of his work and commitment to his local community Frank was awarded the MBE in the New Year's honours list in 2015.

Over the years Frank has had roles with several charities including Reach (Association for Children with upper limb deficiency) Devon in Sight, the Jubilee Sailing Trust and a local preschool.

“I want to talk to the members of the district’s voluntary organisations so they see the value of the Council. I hope to visit schools to explain to children and young people the importance of democracy and why they should be involved. As a former teacher I know how important it is to inspire pupils. Many of those now at school will be voters at the next District election in four years’ time. I want to make sure they take a full part in the democratic process.”

Frank was born in June 1944 in the East End of London, which at that time was being regularly bombed, and lived there until 1963 when he attended Birmingham University to study French and Italian. After graduating he spent five years teaching in Birmingham and married Helen before moving to Bala in Wales. Here Frank continued his career teaching in English and later in Welsh. In Wales Frank made 4 hour length documentaries in Welsh about various aspects of his life.

When asked about his life Frank adds,

"Most people know that I was born without arms. Nobody knows why and it doesn't really matter if they do because it won't change anything will it? Because of this my first eleven years of education were spent in special schools. Despite all this I managed to pass 10 O levels and later went on to grammar school where I passed 3A levels. While I remained in London to sit my A levels my parents and sister moved to Cheriton Bishop for father’s work.
"In 1963 I went to Birmingham University to study French and Italian. I also had A level Spanish, so you might guess I'm a linguist. During my degree I spent a year teaching English in France and loved it. I've always had a very soft spot for France."

Frank retired in 1992 to concentrate on his five children and their kennel of dogs after Helen sadly died in 1990. Frank is a Kennel Club certified dog trainer but also was a well-known exhibitor, winning several times at Crufts.

In 1995 Frank moved to Scotland but decided that Scotland was not for him and moved to Devon where he chose Crediton.

‘‘I enjoy being a councillor because it gives me the opportunity to listen and to represent the people of Crediton. I believe that I am a good listener and speaker and ably put forward the concerns and problems of my constituents.
"When not attending council meetings or reading papers for them I enjoy reading, listening to classical music, gardening and keeping contact with my children and distant friends."

Frank is looking forward to the years ahead as Chairman alongside his wife, Natalia, who represents Upper Yeo and Taw Ward.

You can meet Frank at one of his regular surgeries, he’s at the Crediton Farmers’ Market on the first Saturday of each month.

To enable Frank to come and meet you or to arrange his attendance to support one of your events please contact his secretary via the following means:

Name: Mrs Sarah Lees
Tel: 01884 234310
Address: Member Services Officer and PA to the Chairman of the Council
Mid Devon District Council
Phoenix House
Phoenix Lane
EX16 6PP