[M]ariusz Waluk has served on the Penrith Town Council over the past year, and has just stepped down from the position.
He has sent Cumbria Crack this open letter to the community discussing his time on the council and decision to leave it.
I would like to thank all the councillors so very much for all the help and support they have given me during my time on the council. It has been a fantastic experience to serve and even though it has just been for a short period but I have learnt so much during that time.
There has been a lot of discussion about the importance of town councils and I would like to take this opportunity to say that Penrith Town Council does so much for the community, and its biggest asset is the councillors themselves. They all not only give up so much of their time but more importantly really do care and put that time to good use.
Of course there are disagreements from time to time but I can genuinely say that even then they work hard to come to a conclusion that is best for Penrith as a community. To have worked alongside them has been a real honour and every single member contributes in an important way that I believe they do not receive the recognition for, as they are all so modest of their fantastic achievements!
I would like to especially mention our Mayor, David Whipp and Deputy Mayor Scott Jackson who work constantly to not only ensure basic issues are resolved but think hard on what extra benefits can help the community. Mrs Viv Tunnadine the town clerk and her deputy also work tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of everything and keeping everyone in line – no small task! They too deserve more recognition of the hard work they put in and I would like to say that I am extremely grateful.
Of course with having such a good opinion of the council many people have asked me why I have decided to step down, and I would like it to be known that it is not due to any issues with the council or councillors.
I have decided that at this point in my life I need to focus my time more on helping older vulnerable adults in the community, dedicate more of my time to my studies as I am soon to begin my doctorate and try to spend some more time with my family, who have supported me through many years of constantly being involved in many projects.
My decision was finalised after the Brexit vote when comments arose from various leave supporters who expressed disappointment that all foreigners were not being made to leave the very next day, and similar sentiments.
I have lived in the UK for over ten years now and currently work with English, Scottish, Irish and French nationalities and as such hope other people can grow to understand that race, religion or creed pale into insignificance against strength of character and a genuine, honest and hardworking personality.
I have been saddened that the community seems to now be divided when it needs more than ever to work together as although many people did not wish for this outcome of the referendum, it is now our duty to make the best of the lot we have been given and use it as an opportunity to improve the country for the better, not worse.
I feel that someone who can spend more time on the council and focus on the issues there will be of greater benefit to the community, and it would not be fair for the town for me to continue to keep the position when another may be able to make a greater difference.
I will miss the time I have spent with the other councillors and wish the council all the best for the future. It is with great sadness that I leave but I have no doubt that the remaining councillors will continue to make great improvements for Penrith with the dedication that they always have.