A veteran Southend councillor has reflected on his time in office ahead of stepping down at May’s local elections.

John Lamb who has served the council for 25 years and became the city’s 99th mayor in 2019, formerly announced his retirement from politics at Thursday’s full council meeting.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Lamb, Conservative councillor for West Leigh Ward, said: “It’s one of these bitter sweet things. I shall be sorry to be giving up council because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the work and I’d like to thank all my residents because it is them that have put me here since 1999.

“ Just after the turn of the century I went into cabinet under Charles Latham and I’ve been in cabinet for quite some time. I’ve seen a lot of changes that have gone on for the benefit of the Southend. We started off as a town we are now a city and that’s fantastic news that we’ve done so much.”

Mr Lamb added: “It doesn’t matter what party, if you are elected you are there to represent your residents. I don’t always agree with them and I don’t always agree with everyone in this chamber but you put your points and you work hard for them.

“I’d like to thank my family as well, my wife especially. When I did the mayoralty she got the title of Pat in the Hat but she loved it. We were fortunate to do two years because of Covid. Covid wasn’t a good year for us but it was fantastic doing the mayoralty.”

Mr Lamb said he had been pleased to represent the council with Kent and Essex Fisheries, adding: “We’ve seen our fisheries develop over the years in very many ways and even now a new fishing ground is being looked at.

”I shall be sorry to leave because we’ve made a number of friends all the way through.”

Other councillors stepping down include Steve Buckley Conservative councillor for St Laurence ward, Mike Stafford Residents First councillor for Thorpe Ward, Chris Walker, Conservative councillor for Eastwood Park and Derek Jarvis Conservative councillor for West Shoebury Ward.