A sense of humour has been a staple of retiring Lancaster City Coun Paul Woodruff’s 22 years representing the city.
The Halton-with-Aughton councillor, known by many as Woodie, said one of the main reasons he stood as a free independent 22 years ago was because he was “fed up of the Tories always getting in”.
“If they ran a labrador it would be voted in”, he joked at home in Halton, after announcing his resignation due to ill health last week.
The popular councillor, 74, who for many years ran Woodies Crook O’ Lune Snacks in Caton, said he is very proud to have represented Halton, and Lancaster as a whole.
The father of four said: “I ran as a free independent because I was fed up with the Tories always getting in in Halton. It wasn’t a vendetta against one particular party, it was all parties.
“I went into meetings with an open mind and discussed the matter to the full extent.
“I appreciate I wasn’t always right all the time. But it was my own simple decision based on the facts.
“I got re-elected five times so I can’t have done too badly.”
Mr Woodruff has run a number of businesses in Lancaster, including a hot chestnut stall, and remembers fondly his time as Mayor in 2011/12.
But ill health has recently taken its toll.
“I’ve been laid up now for several weeks and consequently there’s been a bit of an outcry,” he said.
“I can imagine it’s been a surprise for many people, however my decision had been made. I was quite sad about it, I’ve been at it for a few years now. Becoming Mayor was a highlight.
“I went to Perpignan and Aalborg, but not on expenses I might add.
“Humour is a good way of getting across a point and breaking down barriers, I tried to be sociable.
“Local politics has got very adversorial in my view. Local level politics should be about local people, and local issues, and representation of the people, not the political party.
“I’d just like to say thank you to everyone for their support over the years.”