TWO veteran Worcester councillors have announced their retirements - spelling the end of an era at the Guildhall.

Aubrey Tarbuck and David Tibbutt, who between them have served 31 years in public life, are stepping down at May's elections.

Passionate tributes have been paid to the Conservative duo, who represent St Peter's and Battenhall respectively and are both former city mayors.

The move comes just a month after Cllr Tarbuck, who is now 83, was de-selected from the party.

Rather than opt to contest the seat as an independent he has opted to retire, and called his decision "a very sad day".

Cllr Tarbuck, who was first elected in 1966 in Nunnery, lost his seat in 1971 but returned in 1998 for St Peter's.

He said "Yes, I would guess I was a councillor before many of these new 'modernising' councillors and many of our present modernising MPs were born.

"One of my greatest thrills was when I was Mayor of Worcester - I felt if a resident had to complain to the mayor, it was their last resort, so I always did my best to sort their problem and not just pass it to an officer.

"I shall miss my time at the Guildhall, to me it is a very sad day."

Cllr Tibbutt, who is still chairman of Worcester Conservative Association, won his seat in 2004 and has completed a decade at the city council.

A retired former consultant physician at the old Worcester Royal Infirmary, he said he was looking forward to "spending time on other things".

He was a former cabinet member for customer care, and is known for his volunteering medical efforts in Uganda.

"I'd like to thank everyone, it's been an enormous privilege to serve this city," he said.

"Now I'll have a bit more time to spend on other things."

Fellow councillors have paid tribute to both of them, saying they have left a proud legacy.

Councillor Marc Bayliss said: "David is a one-man whirlwind - the minute you ask him to help with something, he's already set about sorting it out.

"Aubrey served a total of 21 years on this council, an amazing length of service and dedication to this city.

"He's a party man with an independent streak for the people of St Peter's and I wish him a long, happy retirement."

Councillor Robert Rowden said: "I remember knocking doors with David saying to someone 'he's a rather good chap, you should vote for him'.

"He said 'oh yes, he prescribed me some pills 20 years ago and I'm still taking them', so I said 'he must have got it right then'.

"I congratulate him for his service to the city."