A LABOUR councillor is to receive a prestigious title for over 50 years of public service.

John Turner, town councillor for Bridgwater’s Hamp ward, will become an Honorary Freeman in recognition of his services to the town.

After seven years in the Navy, Mr Turner joined the Labour Party in 1954 and was elected a Bridgwater Borough Councillor in 1961.

He led Sedgemoor District Council’s Labour group for 25 years from 1973 and left his role as a district councillor last year.

Mr Turner, 84, said: “I’m very pleased and proud that Bridgwater Town Council has chosen to do this.

“One of my best achievements was as vice-chairman of the housing committee, during which time the borough provided an 11-storey block of flats in Bridgwater – unique for a town of our size.”

Town clerk Alan Hurford said: “The title’s fully deserved and worthy of John’s many years of service to local government, Bridgwater in particular, and his role as a trade union representative and Justice of the Peace.

“There have only been five Hon-orary Freeman titles awarded since 1933, so this is very rare.

“A special council meeting was held to consider awarding John the title and the decision was unanimous.”

Mr Turner was also a British Cel-lophane union convenor until he retired, and a magistrate for 26 years.

He was also nominated as chairman of the magistrates’ bench five years in a row.