Keith Knaggs, who served on Ryedale District Council for 22 years, has been made an Honorary Alderman.
Mr Knaggs, who was elected to the council in 1991, received the honour at a ceremony at Ryedale House, Malton, today (Thurs Sept 5).
The proposal was moved by Cllr Caroline Goodrick and seconded by Cllr John Clark in recognition of the eminent service rendered by Mr Knaggs as a councillor between 1991 and 2013.
Cllr Janet Frank, Chairman of the council, presented him with a scroll and a plaque.
She said: “I am very pleased that this is being conferred on Keith as he thoroughly deserves such an honour for all the effort he has devoted to his work during his time on the council to ensure that Ryedale has a strong future.”
He was first elected in 1991 and then re-elected with large majorities until standing down in 2013.
He became leader of the Conservative group of four members in 1995 which had grown to 20 following the 2011 elections.
He was Leader of the Council from May 2007 to December 2012,during which time he oversaw the construction of Malton Sports Hall, the new Brambling Fields junction, the council’s contribution to Pickering Flood Defences, improvements to recycling, no increase in council tax for three years with huge savings achieved and minimal service cuts and the Injured Jockeys Centre where work recently started.
Mr Knaggs, who thanked the proposer and seconder, said that what he tried to stand for were three key aims: That Ryedale was a district with a council rather than a council with a district; to focus on important initiatives which made a real difference rather than little bits here and there; to try and be 18 months ahead of the game with a clear strategic view.
“My aim was to ensure that Ryedale District Council did things rather than have things done to it or forced on it and a council where members could have ideas and be able to do more rather than just react to the proposals of others or reports put before us,” he said.
He stressed that no individual councillor or leader could do things alone and thanked all those who worked with him and supported him in his ward.
“There are so many people who have helped me along my path as a councillor - the typists without whom I would have had stood down in 1999, those who have written or e-mailed me on many topics, especially about planning, the Press who generally gave me a fair crack of the whip, and officers and staff past and present who have worked with me.
“I acknowledge I have been a demanding councillor, which is how it should be, but one who conveyed a clear direction of travel and a clear understanding of the roles of councillors and officers.
“I would also like to thank all the councillors who have shared with me in our endeavours for the common good over those 22 years.
“Last but by no means least I would like to thank my wife, Vivienne, for her support and encouragement.
“It is a great honour to have the role of honorary alderman conferred on me today and I wish everyone well for the future.”
The photograph shows Hon Alderman Keith Knaggs receiving his scroll and plaque from Cll Janet Frank