FORMER Portland mayor Les Ames has retired after 35 years as a town councillor.

Mr Ames told the Echo he has sent a letter to Portland Town Council announcing his retirement. He represented Tophill West.

He thanked the people of Portland for their support over the years and paid tribute to his wife Jean, who he said had been a wonderful support.

Mr Ames said: “Jean has been absolutely magnificent – she’s supported me in everything.”

He added: “She’s always supported me. It’s been a wonderful 70 years together.”

The couple decided to move to Dorset after coming down on holiday to Weymouth and Mr Ames worked at the Admiralty on Portland until his retirement.

The couple have two children, Deirdre Taylor and Josephine Gomm, as well as four grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Mr Ames said he was looking forward to taking some time to relax, spending time with Jean and his family and going on holiday to Menorca.

Mr Ames said: “I’m looking forward to a holiday. Then I don’t know. I’m going to take it easy at first.”

He decided to retire after serving nearly 40 years on local councils.

Joining the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council in 1976, Mr Ames went on to join Portland Town Council in 1979 and Dorset County Council in 1981.

He has held the office of mayor of Weymouth and Portland twice and been Mayor of Portland three times, most recently this year, and stepped down from the role last Wednesday evening.

In 2006 he was awarded the MBE for services to the community.

Portland meant ‘everything’ to him, Mr Ames said, adding that he wouldn’t live anywhere else.

He said: “I really love this isle. There’s so much to enjoy here.”

Mr Ames said thank you to all the people of Portland who had supported him and said he was ‘very proud’ to be on the Royal Manor of Portland.