JIMMY Yule, long-serving former chairman of Prestonpans Community Council, has been honoured as he officially left the group.

The 67-year-old became chair of the community council 10 years ago but stepped down last year. He has now officially vacated his seat as he looks to enjoy retirement.

The former roofer has stayed in Prestonpans all his life and joined the community council in 1974 when it first started up.

Since then he has helped with projects such as the Pennypit Centre and revamping Prestonpans High Street.

“I wasn’t keen at first,” Jimmy admitted to the Courier, “but I got into it soon enough and really enjoyed it.

“It makes me really proud when I think of what we achieved and how we have changed Prestonpans.”

Jimmy says his two biggest achievements were being invited to 10 Downing Street and the memorial to the miners of Prestonpans, which was finally unveiled last year.

“The memorial took 12 years to get built. It cost £35,000 and was funded by events at all the clubs and pubs in Prestonpans,” he explained.

On his invite to Downing Street, to recognise his work in the community, Jimmy added: “There were 50 people there, and me. I went because of what I’d done for the community. I met [then Prime Minister] Tony Blair and he knew the area.”

Jimmy attended this month’s meeting of the community council and was presented with a painting of Prestonpans as a leaving gift, painted by local artist Amanda Owenson.

He said: “I’ve spoken to some of the [community] councillors and they asked me for some advice, I’m sure they will do a great job.

“The community council is getting more and more power. I would recommend anyone who has an interest in local politics to go along and see how it works.

“I appreciate the gift and I appreciated working with them all, it’s been fabulous looking after the community of Prestonpans.”

Jimmy will now get to spend his Tuesday evenings with his three grandsons, Jay, Finlay and Connor, who attend Preston Lodge High School and St Gabriel’s Primary School. He’ll also have more time to spend with wife Elizabeth and their cockapoo Tess.

Brian Weddell, current community council chairman, joked of Jimmy: “He was probably around when the planning application went in for Preston Tower!

“He went on to serve as chairman of the community council for a very long time. East Lothian councillors made reference to him and the work he was doing, his name travelled far and wide.

“He’ll have seen many changes over the last 40 years but he’s always been at the forefront of making sure the community always come first. He is a real community activist and I know he’ll continue to be a community activist in his retirement.”

Angela Leitch, East Lothian Council chief executive, presented Jimmy with the painting. She said: “There aren’t many people who can lay claim to 40-odd years of community work.”