LONG-serving Portland councillor Sandy West has been elected to its town council after serving for 22 years.

Sandy West, 75, a Portland town councillor since 2002, has been elected once again to the Underhill ward at the town council.

She will be 80 by the time the next town council election is held.

Cllr West said: "I was approached by the former MP Jim Knight in 2002

"I have been inspired by the suffragettes since I was a child.

"I thought 'I will give it a go.' On my first day when I walked into the council offices, I just knew I belonged there.

"My ward is the most deprived in the whole of Dorset and I know what it is like to have nothing.

"I love being a councillor, I just love planning, I think it is the most important thing you can do as a councillor.

"In 2008 I became Mayor of Portland which was lovely and I was a volunteer at the 2012 Olympics.

"I feel so privileged to live on Portland and I am so grateful to the community here.

"My office is the chat bench in Fortuneswell, I sit there and talk to people about their issues.

"I don't take anything for granted and I always say what I think.

"I am honoured to be a voice of the people of Portland and hopefully I will be for many years.

"I am just bursting with joy."

Cllr West has stood for many years as a Labour councillor, but in the lead up to the local elections, she decided to run as an independent.

The decision paid off as the Independents took control of the council, winning nine out of 14 seats, leaving Labour with just four seats.

Cllr West said she considered stepping down, but decided to run as an independent to continue to stand up for the people of Underhill.

She added: "The last two years I had thought about it, myself and the Labour group were moving in a different direction.

"I thought about standing down, but it felt cowardly to walk away.

"The feedback I had from residents was that I would have a good chance anyway.

"I gave it a try and I can't believe it.

"I am extremely grateful and I don't want to let anyone down."