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Familiar faces to step down in Waveney

PUBLISHED: 12:40 16 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:05 06 July 2010

TWO of Waveney's longest-serving councillors are stepping down after many years of working for people in the district.

Independent Ruth Ford and Liberal Democrat Andrew Shepherd have been familiar faces around the Lowestoft area during their service.

TWO of Waveney's longest-serving councillors are stepping down after many years of working for people in the district.

Independent Ruth Ford and Liberal Democrat Andrew Shepherd have been familiar faces around the Lowestoft area during their service.

But this year they will step down and bring to an end their long involvement in local politics.

Mrs Ford, of St Peter's Court, was shocked when she was first elected as a councillor, but after 27 years service she is glad she was first persuaded to stand for Labour.

In a message to the people of the Harbour Ward, Mrs Ford said: “I would like to think that loyalty given to me was earned by dealing with your problems, be they individual or collectively.

“I have enjoyed representing you, and many friendships have built up over those years.”

Mrs Ford, 82, fondly remembers her time as vice-chairman and chairman of the council, as well as her year as mayor from 2005-06, but a growing frustration has led to her deciding to leave.

“I thought when I came to the end I'd be very emotional,” she said. “I'm not happy, and if you're not happy doing a job you don't do a job properly.”

Also stepping down from the council is Lib Dem group leader Mr Shepherd.

He first stood for the council at the age of 22, but, after a career that has involved leading the county council, he is now retiring from the Kirkley ward.

“I've been around and seen it all. It's a long time of local government service,” said Mr Shepherd, 64.

He vowed to continue being involved in the local community. But Mr Shepherd, owner of Parrs Model Railways, in London Road South, said health reasons and frustration were behind his decision to leave.

“Whilst Ruth Ford was an opponent, we see it very much the same, with a similar mind of frustration of what is going on in our communities,” he said.

Waveney council leader Mark Bee paid tribute to both councillors.

“Councillor Ford will be greatly missed by us all. She is committed, passionate and has been a genuine ward councillor, caring deeply about the communities she represents.

“She is one of a kind, and Waveney is sorry to see her go,” he said.

“Andrew has been a long-standing servant to Waveney, and his devotion to the council has been plain for all to see.

“Everyone wishes him well.”

John Fryers, labour member for St Margarets, is also standing down at the May polls, having first been elected in 2006.

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