Long-serving Worcester councillor Paul Denham is to stand down.

The Labour councillor for Rainbow Hill since 2000, now 71, will not stand in this May’s city council elections.

Cllr Denham said: "After 18 years, and doing the job as a county councillor it becomes quite a full-time thing, and I’m getting tired of evening meetings really.

"I’ve carried on longer than many people do, and I just want to reduce my commitment a little bit."

Cllr Denham was city mayor in 2016-17 and said he was very proud of that: "You really get to see what’s going on in the city, you go to so many things.

“When I was mayor I cancelled the inaugural ball, which costs several thousand pounds for a slap-up meal. Instead I invited clients of MAGGS day centre and St Paul’s and the YMCA to a pre-Christmas meal. The YMCA chef cooked it for free and we got the food donated or at a discount.

"I’ve always thought the city council has really good people working for it, and when a few of them came along unasked to do the washing up and clearing away I was really impressed."

Cllr Denham said he was pleased to lead the committee which brought in recycling and wheelie bins and added: "I took the decision to have bigger recycling bins and smaller rubbish and that visual message worked, we now recycle more dry recyclables than anywhere else in the Midlands."

As a ward councillor Cllr Denham said he was proud of keeping the annual bonfire and latterly fireworks display going and closing a pedestrian level crossing that was a magnet for dangerous horseplay.

He said: “All I wanted to do was stand up for the people in the area, and if you can help someone that’s the real satisfaction. It’s been challenging but satisfying and worth it."