A POLITICIAN who has served as a councillor for 50 years says he is “delighted and honoured” to be awarded an OBE.

Rodney Bass, 71, has been given the royal recognition in the Queen’s Birthday Honours announced on Friday for his service to local government.

Mr Bass, who retired from Essex County Council in May, has been involved in politics since 1967.

He served on Maldon District Council from 1967 to 2007 and was appointed chairman for the council twice.

He became an Essex County Councillor in 1997 serving the Heybridge and Tollesbury ward until he stepped out ahead of May’s election.

Mr Bass was also vice-chairman of the county council from 2008 to 2010 and chairman from 2010 to 2012.

He learned he would be awarded an OBE on his last working day for the council in May.

“I am really delighted and very honoured to have been made an OBE,” he said.

“It is wonderful for me personally, but I also see it as recognition for all my former colleagues in local government who have supported me over the last 50 years and I thank them for all their help.

“The fact I spent 40 years on Maldon District Council and became chairman twice and 20 years on Essex County Council and became its chairman for two years is first of all down to the residents who enabled me to serve on the county and district councils and secondly my colleagues in local government who have supported me and enabled me to achieve this.

“It is not just an award for me personally, I like to think it is an award for them. I hope I have been able to do some good on the councils over that 50 year period.”

Mr Bass said it had been a tough challenge to keep his award a secret but he is now looking forward to picking up the accolade.

“It got easier as it went along as I knew it was going to come to an end,” he said.

“To stay totally quiet when you are bursting to tell people is quite a challenge.

“I am absolutely thrilled and I shall be really pleased and honoured to receive my award in due course at Buckingham Palace.”

Mr Bass, who is married to wife Margaret, is the Provincial Grand Master for the Essex Freemasons and remains a Great Totham parish councillor.

He added: “I hope to continue serving the community through Freemasonry in Essex and the charitable giving associated with our Fraternity and will also continue membership of my local parish council.”

Mr Bass, who has been elected an honorary Alderman of Essex, is a graduate of economics and accountancy who spent 35 years working in the banking industry becoming a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in 1980.

During his time as a councillor he used the specialist knowledge dealing with finance, constitutional law and highways and transportation.