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After nine elections and 35 years, Aberdeen councillor Len Ironside is leaving politics

Len Ironside
Len Ironside

An Aberdeen councillor who has fought and won nine elections in 35 years is to stand down in 2017.

Former wrestler Len Ironside swapped the ring for the town house in 1982 and is now the city’s longest serving councillor.

He was feared throughout the grappling world, holding belts in the European lightweight, Scottish welterweight and Commonwealth lightweight divisions.

Councillor Len Ironside
Councillor Len Ironside

He also led the council for four years, from 1999 to 2003, and spent 10 years as its Labour group leader.

But the 66-year-old will not stand at next years council elections.

Councillor Ironside, who was made a CBE in 2003 for services to local government and the community, said: “I have been in nine elections and been returned in every one but now I think it’s time to retire.

“It really is a privileged position being a councillor, you get the opportunity to get to know the community you serve better and how you can better help them.

“There is never a good time to go and I had almost persuaded myself to stand again.

“But I need to get out of the council cycle of meetings and agendas.

“It’s a wonderful job and I’ve been very glad to do it over the last 35 years.”

Mr Ironside, a member for Kingswells, Sheddocksley and Summerhill, is now going back to where it began – training the next generation for the ring.

He said: “I certainly hope to do a bit more coaching and keeping an eye on the wrestling, which I think is going through a bit of a revival.”

Council leader Jenny Laing paid tribute to the Mr Ironside.

She said: “The contribution that Len Ironside has and continues to make, not only to Aberdeen City Council but to the communities he has served over more than three decades, cannot be understated.

“A true champion of social justice, Len has always stood up for the most deprived sections of our society and fought tirelessly on their behalf.

“Len’s experience and know-how made him an extremely effective council leader and Labour group leader.

“His passion and commitment will be sorely missed by the Labour group but I am sure he will continue to play an active role within the Labour party locally and will support and promote the many community activities he is involved in.”

Voters will go to the polls in council elections across Scotland in May next year.

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