Council bosses celebrate “diamond” Pishminder’s 42 years of service

Pishminder with Mayor Tom Wootton and Bedford Borough Council chief exec Laura Church. Image: Bedford Borough Council

After joining Bedford County Council on her 18th birthday, Pishminder Kumari has been honoured by the Mayor and chief executive for her unrivalled 42 years of continuous service.

Describing her as a “diamond”, Mayor Tom Wootton presented Pishminder with a plaque, chocolates and a bunch of flowers and was joined by Chief Executive, Laura Church, at the presentation at Borough Hall.

Pishminder, who is a Democratic Services Officer, joined Bedfordshire County Council on the day of her 18th birthday. Since then she has had more than four decades of unbroken service, first with the former county council and then Bedford Borough after the shake-up of local government in 2009.

And she admitted that if she had her time over, she would do it all again.

“I’ve loved every bit of it working here, and the council has always been a very good and supportive employer. Even though I sometimes struggle, I don’t quit,” said Pishminder.

“I’ve always been able to continue developing myself – there weren’t the same opportunities to go to university when I was younger, but I’ve realised that I love the classroom and I’ve taken every chance I can to keep learning and will continue to do so. We never stop learning.”

Pishminder first joined the county council’s Planning department after being told about the role from a careers guidance counsellor. But she has spent most of her career in Legal and Democratic Services.

She said; “I’m probably the first member of staff that most newly-elected members get to know when they join the Council, and having built a good rapport with former councillors I still continue to keep in touch with many of them from over the decades.

“Honorary Alderman John Mingay still sends me a Christmas card every year, and Honorary Alderman Apu Bagchi jokingly asked me recently ‘Are you still here?’ but they are always glad I am at the other end of the phone.

“Then I have happy memories of people like Phyllis Gershon, who was a remarkable woman and would come to see county council staff with biscuits and tell us ‘This is for your afternoon tea’.

“It’s like a big work family here and I don’t have a bad word to say about anyone. I just enjoy helping all of my Council colleagues and the residents of Bedford Borough.”

Mayor of Bedford Borough, Tom Wootton, said: “I can still remember when I was first elected how Pishminder took the time and effort to not just help me learn the role, but to get to know me as a person.

“Pishminder is a real diamond of a person and a true asset to the council. She’s a real asset to councillors, and she’s a real asset to residents as she helps every single one of us to do our jobs.”

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