LONG standing Craven councillor and champion for older people, Pat Fairbank, is stepping down.

Cllr Fairbank, who was re-elected onto Craven District Council at last May's local elections, has represented the Aire Valley and Lothersdale ward since 2000.

She will leave the council on March 24 and there will be a by-election to fill her shoes at the same time as the North Yorkshire County Council elections on May 4.

Cllr Fairbank, who is retiring because of ill health, said it was with 'great regret' that she was leaving the council.

“Unfortunately due to continuing ill health, I am finding it increasingly difficult to carry out my duties and I feel that it would be in the best interests of my ward and the council if I was to step down. It has been a privilege to serve the Aire Valley with Lothersdale ward and the Craven district since I was first elected in 2000. I have enjoyed my time on the council and I am grateful for the support of colleagues and officers. I wish the district every success in the future.”

Cllr Fairbank, who lives in Bradley, has recently served on the council’s Select Committee and as vice-chairman of the Standards Committee. She has also been member champion for older people since 2015.

Council leader, Cllr Richard Foster, said: “We are very sorry to see Pat leave the council but I understand her reasons for doing so. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Pat for all her hard work and dedicated service over the last 17 years, and to wish her all the best. She has shown great dedication to her parishes and she will be much missed at Craven District Council.”