Published: 06:00, 11 June 2021
There can’t be many longer-serving public servants in Kent than Tony Mulcuck.
The 87-year-old has been a member of Ditton Parish Council for an incredible 50 years, having joined in May 26, 1971.
In return for his dedication, the authority is installing a bench in his honour next to the village’s war memorial in New Road, which is set to be officially unveiled soon.
Across six decades the councillor, supported by wife Maralyn, has overseen plenty of projects and changes in the village.
The formation of Ditton Bowls Club, the Ditton and Malling Active Retirement Association and a project to turn a derelict Victorian school building into Ditton Heritage Centre, Cllr Mulcuck - who has even played bowls for England - has been involved in it all.
The Bradbourne Lane resident says he has no plans to retire just yet.
He said: “I might do another four years and then, when I get into my 90s, it might be time to slow down a bit.”
The grandfather, who used to work in the printing industry, explained: “I was actually asked to go on Ditton Parish Council in 1971.
“I asked the lady who lived next door to me then because she used to be a parish councillor and she said ‘Oh yes, there is nothing much to it. You only meet once a month.’
“But the parish council decided to build a community centre and, from that, it meant meetings every Monday.
“Of course, a lot has changed over the years.”
One of those changes came last year, with council meetings forced online after the coronavirus health crisis struck. But Cllr Mulcuck has embraced the technology saying, “I’m a bit hard of hearing, but on Zoom, there is more or less one person talking at a time, and you can have the volume up. I did like that.
“But it is not quite the same as chatting around the table.”
A perennial concern, however, of his time in office has been high housing targets.
Cllr Mulcuck is proud of the work he has done, though, particularly at the Heritage Centre.
“We invite schools to come along with their children and some of our members dress up in Victorian dresses and coats and give them a lesson in the old Victorian ways - pounds, shillings and pence,” he said.
“It is a nice project to belong to. When I look back on it, we have done a lot for the village.
“But I’m not the only councillor, and we all take part.
“I’m just lucky that people keep electing me.”
He has two children, eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.