Gwyneth Carrell and her husband, Stephen, moved to the Farragut area on Memorial Day weekend, but she didn’t find the right job until October, when she became the new Farragut Town Hall receptionist. It was a job worth waiting for, she says.
“This feels right. Everybody here’s got something lovely about them.”
Gwyneth is the first to admit that she’s got big shoes to fill. She replaced Bettye Newby, who retired last year after nearly 20 years in the position. It was an intimidating task, given that Bettye is beloved by the staff as well as everyone she ever helped. It was a blessing to train with her for two weeks, Gwyneth says.
She has plenty of spunk herself. Her background is in tourism and hospitality, and she’s always had public-facing jobs. While she’s never worked in municipal government, her experience in higher education and property management has helped her understand the workings of small-town government. She has developed an appreciation for planning and has enjoyed learning the ins and outs of development, codes and engineering.
One of the first things visitors notice about Gwyneth is she’s not from around here. She grew up in Macclesfield, England, which is near the Peak District National Park. It seems appropriate to her that she should settle near another national park.
She came to the U.S. in the early 1990s as a nanny and decided she never wanted to leave. Her love of the U.S. was cemented by a Green Tortoise bus tour, a two-week trip that took her from her Connecticut home through the South and west to San Francisco. The 38 passengers ate and slept on the bus, which stopped at parks so the group could occasionally shower.
After living in Connecticut for 20 years, the Carrells decided to move to East Tennessee to be closer to family. Stephen’s father, Sam Carrell, was a well-known luthier who specialized in building dulcimers.
While Gwyneth has received a warm welcome in Tennessee, she says she feels validated by her husband’s connection to the area. Even though she’s only been on the job for a few weeks, she’s already helped several others who are new to the Farragut area. Her work at Town Hall has introduced her to a broad range of Tennessee accents.
“I’m trilingual. I speak British, New England and I’m learning to speak East Tennessee.”
Gwyneth, a horse lover, uses her free time to volunteer at STAR (Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding) in Lenoir City. Because the Carrells moved here during Covid, they have yet to fully experience their new community. They look forward to getting out and enjoying local restaurants and culture when it becomes safe.
In the meantime, Gwyneth will continue to greet Town Hall visitors the way she was trained by Bettye – with respect and grace. Stop by and say hello; she’s got her own stories to tell. Did I mention she’s related to Lord Lovat?
Town of Farragut marketing and public relations coordinator Wendy Smith is your reliable Farragut insider.