A long-serving councillor has become the first person to be awarded the Freedom of Coleford.

Clive Elsmore has been a district councillor for the town since 2011 and a member of Coleford Town Council for 37 years.

He was presented with a framed citation by Mayor of Coleford Cllr Nick Penny in a surprise end to the Pride of Coleford awards last Saturday (November 25).

He was co-opted onto Coleford Parish Council in 1986, was Chairman of the Council from 1992 until 1994 and later served as Mayor of Coleford between 2006 and 2008 – one of only three people to have his name on this chain more than once.

Cllr Elsmore, who sits as an Independent member of the Forest Council, has also been vice-chairman of the authority and chair of several sub-committees.

He is currently a board member and current Chair of the Coleford Area Partnership as well as a trustee for the Halls Charity, Bells Foundation and Broadwell Memorial Hall, and the town council’s representative on the Stowfield Quarry Liaison Group.

Cllr Penny said: “It is difficult to know how to acknowledge such dedicated service to the town, especially as we have an unwritten rule that serving councillors are not eligible for recognition via the Pride of Coleford Awards. “On this occasion our community panel just would not let this service go unnoticed.

“The highest civic honour that can be awarded by a Council to an individual or organisation, in recognition of their exemplary service to a community is the Freedom of the Town.

“The privileges that come with this honour are not defined, but I am sure Clive will have fun exploring what they could be.”

Cllr Elsmore said the honour was a surprise, adding: “I just enjoy what I do.”