THE youngest ever parish councillor for Malpas has stood down to travel abroad for the job of a lifetime.

Sherrie Roberts was the youngest member to stand on Malpas Parish Council when she joined three and a half years ago – shortly after her 18th birthday – making her one of the youngest councillors in the country.

The languages student, now 21, served on the council for three terms, unofficially representing the younger members of the community, but stood down at the last elections to teach in Egypt and Austria.

Sherrie will leave for Egypt on June 16 on a TEFL placement to study Arabic and teach English to students, which will be followed by another teaching post in Austria in October.

For Sherrie, who had just started studying Spanish and German at the University of Chester when she first assumed her position on the parish council, her age has never seemed that much of an important issue.

“Looking back, I suppose I was quite young when I joined the parish council,” said Sherrie, who sat her final exam last week.

“I did feel I was breaking the mould by being so young but I think I was respected and entitled to my own opinion.

“Perhaps it also shows people that it’s not just something that older people do. For me it was about taking an interest, not just in the community, but in the real world.”

And Sherrie is full of praise for her fellow councillors, who she says made ‘great steps’ in tackling some of Malpas’ toughest issues.

“The Leech Lane project, particularly, was our biggest challenge as a collective,” she explained.

“Although some members more than others have played more of an active role, as a collective it was a great achievement for us.

“Also the monthly surgeries we have been running – although they are not overly attended – it is about making the connection between the parish council and the community.

“We made great steps with this, which is truly something that the new council will carry on with.”

Though for now Sherrie is excited about pursuing her work abroad, she hopes to take up a council position again in the future.

In the meantime she wants to encourage as many young people as possible to take an interest in council affairs.

“I really think that community matters. Lots of people sit back and blame others about things that should be happening in the community instead of doing something about it,” Sherrie said.

“The parish council have been so supportive and have always encoruaged me. I hope to stand again – if I’m in the country that is!”

Charles Higgie, one of the current councillors on Malpas Parish Council, said Sherrie will be missed.

He added: “We wish Sherrie the best of luck in everything she does, she is a lovely girl. Our loss is Egypt’s gain.”

Carmell De Lucia