KAY Taylor has been Sutton Benger correspondent for Gazette & Herald’s community news pages since 1984 and a fair amount has changed in the past 31 years.

She has served as parish councillor for 25 years, standing down in the May 2013 elections and, as a historian, has written and published three local history books.

Encouraged by her daughter, she gained a first in history from UWE and continued as a part-time post-graduate student and gained her PhD in history in 2006, at the age of 54.

Here she explains how her role has developed over the past three decades: “In June 1984 the Sutton Benger village correspondent for the Gazette & Herald, Chris Shepherd, decided that she no longer wanted to do the job and asked if I might like to be considered to take over from her,” she said.

“I thought that this would fit in well with family life and agreed, so Chris put my name forward to the newspaper.

“The editor, John Mayhew, asked me to submit a sample piece reporting on a village event and then visited me for an informal interview.

“We agreed that I would write the village news for three months and then review how it was going.

“It seems to have gone well since I am still doing it 31 years later, nearly half my lifetime.

“My first report was about a fire in the field to the south of the village and it made it to the front page on July 9, 1984 – the only time I have ever made the front page.

“At that time the newspaper was a broadsheet with different editions for each of the market towns, Chippenham, Malmesbury, Wootton Bassett, Marlborough, and so on, with each edition serving the villages in its main town’s hinterland.

“At this time the community news pages contained nine columns, but this soon reduced to eight columns, which made it much easier to read.

“The Gazette supplied off-cuts of newsprint paper for my reports and I was also provided with carbon paper so I could keep a copy of what I had written – in case anyone later queried it.

“My early reports were written on my husband’s old portable typewriter.

“The deadline for each Thursday’s edition was noon on the Tuesday so I was able to write up any weekend events and catch the first post on Monday morning – having been supplied with priority, addressed envelopes and first class stamps.