WHEN Derek Stewart was elected as a local councillor in 1988, he said he'd give it a go for four years.

Before he knew it, those four years had turned into more than three decades, with his tenure spanning a handful of governments, the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and other political milestones.

However, Sauchie voters may have noticed his name missing from the list of candidates for next month’s Clacks Council elections, with Derek confirming his retirement.

Looking back with fondness on his time in local government, he told the Advertiser: “34 years I’ve been a councillor and I felt, with my age now, it’s long enough.

“I’ve done my turn and I feel local politics is not the same as when it was 34 years ago. It’s not the same atmosphere, partnerships.

“I’m sad I’m leaving but I had a hip operation at the end of last year and that’s helped make my mind up. I’ve got my wife and three sons and three grandkids.

“At this time [of my life] everything’s a bonus to you.”

Derek continued: “Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve been in it. Some hard decisions but there’s been a lot of good stories, too.

"I’ve played my part. I was environmental spokesperson for a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Expanding on his view that local politics is not the same as it was when he first started, he said: “I think now it’s more kept up the stairs.

“Before, we worked with the officials. Now that doesn’t seem to be the same. Even when we were the opposition.

“It’s my personal view, I might be right and I might be wrong, but I don’t think there’s the same relationship within the system.”

Derek added: “I had wonderful staff to work with. They helped me an awful lot as provost, dug me out a few holes at times. I could never, ever criticise staff.

“Times have changed and it’s my time to hang up my bunnet and let someone else pick up the gauntlet.

“I’ve had a lot of great times, a lot of people I’ll never forget…one or two I’d like to forget, but that’s part of the job.”

Back in 2018, Derek was given an award to mark 30 years of service by members of the community group Sauchie Activ8.

At the time, he said: “I said I’ll give it a shot for the four years.”

He was elected on May 3, 1988 and those four years turned into 34 years. Now, it’s time for him to move on.

Unsurprisingly, his hope for the future is for a Labour council in Clackmannanshire.

He continued: “I’d like to see a return of a Labour council.

“It’s going to be difficult but we’ve got excellent candidates out there.

“We’ll just need to see what the public say. It’s up to the public to decide who they want to take control of the council.

“The public were absolutely fantastic to work with.”