Former Chester mayor Doug Haynes is proud to have received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community in the New Year Honours.

Doug, 81, from Tattenhall, may be an octogenarian but he is still clerk for Beeston Parish Council, a Tattenhall parish councillor and continues to support the Opal day centre in his home village by giving lifts to older people.

In fact Doug has been on Beeston PC continuously either as a councillor or clerk since 1964. And he served as an independent on the former Chester City Council for 35 years, including when he was mayor and his late wife Rachel was mayoress in 1987-88.

“I was always an independent,” said Doug, a retired farmer who leased a farm in Beeston. “Because I believe in serving the community not the political system. In the main I got on with most councillors – it didn’t matter which political party they came from.”

He commented: “It’s very, very nice to be appreciated and honoured by receiving the BEM. Hopefully I have done a bit for the community at large and individuals particularly.”

Doug Haynes, centre, when he was an independent councillor and chairman of the ethics and standards committee on the now defunct Chester City Council, with former council leaders John Price (Labour) and David Evans (Liberal Democrat).

Doug has been chairman of the Drive Alive Chester charity since its start in 1996. This is a charity which promotes road safety and helps pay for disadvantaged youngsters to have driving lessons.

His interests include genealogy and giving talks on Chester’s renowned 19th century railway builder, Thomas Brassey from Buerton, who built Chester Railway Station, a third of the railway lines in this country and one in 20 miles of railway around the world.

“Most people have never heard of him and I thought: my job is to let people know about him,” explained Doug, who was very proud when he was made an Alderman and granted the freedom of the city, following in the footsteps of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Westminster.

His previous roles are almost too numerous to mention but include being a former governor of Tarporley High School, ex-chairman of Tattenhall Youth Club and former chairman of the European-funded Northern Marches England Development Partnership promoting business in South Cheshire and Northern Shropshire.

Doug is still involved in the campaign to re-open Beeston Railway Station and next week will be made president of Tattenhall Probus Club for the second time, in what will be a first for the club.

He and his late wife Rachel, who died on January 1, 1990, had a daughter Karen and son Nigel. He also has two grown-up grandchildren – Rachel who is studying languages in Edinburgh and Oliver, who is studying dentistry in London.