AFTER several decades in the role, a chairman of a charity overseeing a much-frequneted community centre has bowed out gracefully.

92-year-old James Putz has been Chairman of Newton Abbot Centre Association (NACA) for more than 30 years, having joined the charity in 1964.

During its Annual General Meeting (AGM), trustees of NACA, which is the body that heads up the Courtenay Centre, said goodbye to James.

In the very early days, when the Courtenay Centre comprised fewer buildings than at present, James was instrumental in securing, and then helping pay back, a loan which was used to expand the centre.

‘The hard work initially was to raise the money to repay the loan so we set about running dances for the young of Newton Abbot - the place was packed and it was even more packed when we served alcoholic drinks!’ James said.

‘We had support from the rugby club to run it - it was a noisy and strenuous business!

‘We now have a very positive plan moving forward - I think the way the centre has been supported by the CIO, sponsored by the town council, has been very postive’ he added.

James, or Jim to those in the know, was not, however, the only long-standing trustee of NACA to announce their departure during the AGM.

Joanna Williams, who had held the role of Secretary since 2009, also decided it was time to step aside.

‘I know that I am leaving it in very good hands’ Joanna said.

‘I joined in 2009 at the request of Colin Power, who was an absolute hero to everyone’ she added.

Colin Power was a founding member of NACA back in the 1960’s and remained a trustee until his death at aged 96.

‘I became a trustee alongside Jim and Colin’ Joanna said.

‘We have seen the centre through thick and thin.

‘There has been significant improvement of the centre buildings over the years and that has been wonderful to see’ she added.