THE Pioneer has had it officially confirmed that retiring borough council leader Reg Chrimes is the longest-serving councillor in the country.
The 82-year-old veteran is standing down from his Little Neston seat at next month's local elections after an incredible 58 years in local government.
His record term was confirmed by the Local Government Association, with his nearest rival for the title being Alan Cornelius of Somerset, who served as a councillor for 55 years.
Cllr Chrimes was elected unopposed as Labour group and council leader in October 2005 after his friend and fellow long-serving councillor Fred Venables stepped down for health reasons after more than 35 years at the helm.
He had been Cllr Venables' deputy since Ellesmere Port and Neston councils merged in 1974.
Cllr Chrimes has represented his Little Neston ward since first being elected to Neston Urban District Council in 1949.
He has never taken any councillor's allowances in all his years and was made a Freeman of the Borough in 1995.
Cllr Chrimes said: 'I have been privileged to represent the same ward for so long, with 25 years on Neston UDC and 33 years as deputy leader or leader of our borough council and I am grateful to the people of the ward whose support made it possible. The single achievement of the borough council of which I am most proud is the reduction of unemployment throughout the borough from more than 18% in the 1980s to 2.4% now.'
Borough chief executive Stephen Ewbank said: 'It's been an honour to work with Cllr Chrimes since I joined the council in 1984. His tireless work, personal integrity and strong sense of service to the community has been an inspiration to us all.'
Labour councillor Brian Jones said: 'Cllr Chrimes is old school, a man full of integrity. He can be forceful in arguments but he never got personal.'