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MBE for deputy mayor who has served council for 46 years
A deputy mayor has been made an MBE after missing just one council meeting in 46 years as a councillor.
The Deputy Mayor of Epsom and Ewell, Councillor Michael Arthur, 76, was recognised in the New Years Honours for his services to the community.
Coun Arthur said: "I am very pleased indeed. It came as a great surprise."
For almost half a century Councillor Arthur has represented Ewell and been a member of Ewell Village Residents’ Association.
Beside council duties he has also led scout groups, helped Epsom Methodist Church and Christian Outreach Trust For Epsom as well as refurbishing Glyn Hall.
Clive Woodbridge, chairman of the Residents’ Association group of councillors, said: "I think it’s an incredibly long time to be a councillor.
"I suspect there are very few councillors in the country who have served as long as Michael has.
"In that time he’s only missed one council meeting so he’s been an incredibly hardworking and dedicated councillor throughout all that time.
"If you give that much of your life to serving your community it’s certainly not before time that he has had that recognition.
"We were all very pleased."
Coun Arthur was first elected in 1966 at the age of 28 when he was working for Epsom-based building company Bradley and Arthur.
He said: "I worked locally and could see a lot of what was going on.
"At that time many people commuted to London particularly and I was around and about in the daytime.
"I was also interested in local events."
"My council experience has helped me in my business world and my business experience has helped in my council world. They have complemented each other."
Asked why he has continued as a councillor for so long, he said: "I was fit and well and able to look after my residents and the borough so I felt able to go on and to serve.
"It became a way of life after that. It’s part of the way I do things and I’m happy to do so."
It is the third time he has been deputy mayor and he was mayor in 1981/82.
During his early days in the council he was particularly interested in education and played a role in highways then later took a particular interest in planning.
Coun Arthur, who has four children and seven grandchildren, thanked his wife Ann for her support over the years.
He said: "My family have been very supportive because it’s taken quite a lot of family time out being a member."
In addition to his other roles he has been part of the Surrey Downs branch of the Chartered Management Institute since 1983.