By Sarah Hickinbotham

A VILLAGE stalwart who has served as a parish councillor for almost half a century has retired.

Ron Ballard joined Abberley Parish Council in 1962 following in his father Horace’s footsteps.

On Tuesday, May 17, he attended his last meeting as a member of the council.

Colleagues paid tribute to the 87-year-old and presented him with an illuminated address, illustrated by local artist John Lloyd and a cake featuring Abberley Clock Tower made by Sue Coley.

Chairman Trevor Nott said of Mr Ballard: “During your long and distinctive period of service to the council you have been quietly effective and said your piece when necessary.

“Thank you for that and on behalf of the village thank you for all you’ve done for all those years.

“Ron is a wise and witty councillor whose wealth of knowledge will be missed and we wish him well in his retirement.”

Born into a farming family in the village, the father-of-three served in the RAF between 1942 and 1947 before returning to the land and taking up a degree in agriculture.

He was encouraged by his father - who served on Abberley’s council for 40 years and was chairman for 26 of those - to become a parish councillor.

Mr Ballard was involved in many aspects of the transformation of the village and community projects and a longstanding member of the council’s planning committee.Speaking of his time on the council, the grandfather-of-six said: “It was rewarding and sometimes a bit of a battle but we hope we have done something worthwhile.

“I’m still going to be very much involved with the community.”