On this day sixty years ago, Richmond and Twickenham’s longest-serving councillor Geoffrey Samuel was first elected.

Joining in November 14, 1957, Cllr Samuel sat on the council between 1957 and 1978 and was re-elected in 1997 bi-election, returning as a conservative councillor after converting from Labour “for a lot of reasons”.

He has seen the merge of Richmond and Twickenham Councils- he was first elected to Twickenham- and vast changes to how constituents interact with their councillors.

The 86-year-old, who was born in Chiswick and moved to Twickenham as a child in 1940, said: “When I was first elected, 90 per cent of my time was spent dealing with council affairs and 10 per cent was spent speaking to residents.

“Now it’s the other way around.

“I get more contact from constituents in a week than I did in a year when I first started.

“An enormous amount of our work goes into interacting with residents now.

“Councillors have to listen to and be advocates for the people who voted them in.

“You get a much better feel for what people want.”

Cllr Samuel, who served as the deputy leader of the council from 2010 to 2017, worked in the education system for 43 years, 23 of which he served as the head of The Heathland School in Hounslow.

One of the biggest things he has taken from his time at the council, where he served as the deputy leader until May this year, is a “commitment to democracy”.

He said: “It’s been a realisation that in a democracy that if the Government doesn’t serve the people they will bite back and bite back hard.”

People are much more willing to voice their concerns, but Cllr Samuel worries because of the overload, those elected to the council are becoming “less willing to listen”.

He warned: “It’s very important that councillors listen to their residents, remember who voted for them and that serving them should be at the front of what they do.”

In 60 years, Cllr Samuel has seen “remarkably few changes”.

He said: “The greatest difference is with traffic management.

“It’s a much bigger problem- for obvious reasons- than it was.

“Shopping has changed; Twickenham was always a much more vibrant and bigger shopping area whereas Teddington and Hampton Hill were much smaller.”

However, he believes the character of the borough is still the same.

On what that is, he said: “It’s not suburban; it’s an area characterised by a remarkably high quality of physical environment.

“Sir David Attenborough, who has travelled the world, says it’s the best place to live in England.

“The river, the parks, the open spaces, the quality of the architecture all make it a remarkable place to live.”

The councillor, whose wife sadly passed away in 2015 after a battle with dementia, has found love again and married during the summer.

He said: “It’s a sign that life can begin again at 86.”

He does not intend to leave his post any time soon, adding: “I intend to stay as long as the people want me in and as long as I’m physically and mentally capable.”