COMMUNICATIONS chief David Russell, who has helped raise thousands of pounds for charity over the years, has retired after more than 30 years of service.
Mr Russell, 56, officially retired last Friday from East Lothian Council, having joined the local authority back in 1983.
He will remembered most for his tireless charity work, having led Council Aid, a major fundraising event in the late 1980s which raised nearly £5000 for African famine relief projects.
Away from fundraising, Mr Russell was also active in the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and was made a fellow of the institute in 2006.
Three years later, he was one of the first in the country to be awarded the then new chartered PR practitioner status.
Mr Russell, who lives in Port Seton, was appointed the council’s communications manager in 1996 and has led a team which now deals with an ever-expanding remit.
This includes graphic design, web development and the local authority’s print unit, as well the more traditional public relations and marketing.
Over the years, Mr Russell has overseen the production of more than 80 issues of the council’s newspaper and thousands of press releases, not to mention advising hundreds of councillors and officials down the years.
“When I started off, I was the only press officer and solely responsible for all media enquiries, press releases and the council paper,” said Mr Russell. “As with other councils, the team has extended hugely over the years and communications has really gone through a revolution in that time, particularly with the internet, websites and social media coming more to the fore.
“It’s been a time of huge change and councils have had to adapt to that.”
Mr Russell is now looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Karen, three children and the latest addition to the family – grandson Rory. He is also looking forward to travelling more.
He added: “I’ve got mixed feelings about leaving. It’s sad to be leaving so many people behind after so many years and great memories and achievements over those years, but the time is right to be moving on and looking at new opportunities.”