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A lifetime of public service - tributes paid to Paul Cowin

Thursday, 19 January 2023 14:29

Douglas Borough Council has paid tribute to a popular figure who devoted almost half a century of his life to the capital.

Paul Cowin, who has died aged 66, retired in September following 49 years of outstanding service with the local authority, the last 24 as Assistant Town Clerk.

He began work for them in July 1973 as a Clerical Assistant in the Town Clerk’s Department, moving to become an Administrative Assistant seven years later and then manager of Administrative Services (later Council Services) in 1995.

In November 1998 he was appointed Assistant Town Clerk, a position he held until his recent retirement.

At this week’s monthly Council meeting, members and staff observed a minute’s silence in his memory before Council Leader Claire Wells reflected on his distinguished career.

She said his ‘lifetime of public service to the people of Douglas’ spanned numerous areas and he was not only a highly regarded and loyal colleague always there to support, help, and advise, but an officer respected by other authorities and across local government in the Island.

‘Paul quite simply devoted his life to public service on the Island, and to Douglas in particular,’ she said.

‘When I spoke at his retirement a few months ago, our sadness at losing Paul as a colleague was tempered with the pleasure and thought of him enjoying a long and happy retirement with his family and his grandchildren, of whom he was so proud and devoted. It is with profound sadness that this was not to be, and that his retirement was cut short so tragically after so many years of committed public service.’

Offering condolences to his family during a particularly difficult time, Mrs Wells said he would be sadly missed by all who knew him but his far-reaching service to Douglas would not be forgotten.  

Throughout his long career, Paul assisted and supported all the legal, administrative and professional duties associated with the running of the Council, managing and supervising the Council, Committee, Civic and Ceremonial functions, as well as the onerous task of arranging and running local elections.

He also attended more than 500 Council Meetings.  

In addition, his many roles outside of that included leading on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day parades and services, annual fireworks displays, Civic Sunday and D-Day and VE & VJ Day commemorations.
Last summer, he was responsible for arranging the lighting of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon for the Isle of Man and Douglas – an event he also arranged to mark the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

He was also with the Council for the Silver Jubilee in 1977 and Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Mayor Janet Thommeny JP added: ‘Paul was a well-respected officer whose encyclopaedic knowledge, commitment and outstanding service to Douglas Borough was invaluable.

‘All of his former colleagues here will remember him for a truly wonderful contribution and Douglas Borough Council wishes to convey its sincerest condolences to Paul’s wife Anne, daughters Hannah and Becky, grandchildren and the entire family.’