CLACKS councillor Derek Stewart was left “with a tear” in his eye after receiving an award marking his thirty years of service.

The award was organised and presented by members of the community group Sauchie Activ8 on Friday, with the ceremony attended by fellow councillors and Labour members.

He told the Advertiser: “I was shocked when I got it. It was a nice shock.

“It’s the community giving it and I’d always appreciate it. But when it’s the community giving it it’s more special.

“I told them I’d hang it above my bed, but I think I’ll put it in Sauchie Hall.”

It has been a long journey for Derek, who started out his career with a successful spell working for the unions.

He said: “I was branch secretary for GMB Union, and I was in that role for about 25 years.

“Then Sauchie councillor Jimmy Miller came to see me and told me I was going to be a councillor.

“I told him I’m not interested in politics, but he said they wanted me to stand because I’m well known in the community.

“I said I’ll give it a shot for the four years, and on May 3, 1988 I was elected.”

Since then, Derek, 73, has been dedicated to the Clacks community he loves and represents – and even spent nearly ten years as provost during his time with the council.

He said: “It’s brilliant. I’m always involved with the community. I attend all the community groups and community councils.

“You meet so many people it’s incredible.

“I think it’s your job to be there and for the people to see you – especially if an issue comes up.”

Looking ahead, it seems thirty years just isn’t enough for Derek.

He continued: “I’ll probably go to the next election, and if I win that’ll give me 35 years.

“It’s a long time, but if you do something you love then that’s half the battle.”

Derek’s wife, Marjory, said of him standing as councillor for another five years: “It keeps him out of my hair.”

Sandra Gruar, general manager at Sauchie Activ8, added: “We feel that after 30 years of service, he’s a councillor we can depend on.”