A LONG-STANDING community council chairman who has dedicated more than 40 years to Dunbar has revealed, as he stepped down last week, that he only expected to be in the role “for two or three years”.

Stephen Bunyan has been a firm fixture of the town’s community council since it was formed in 1976.

For the vast majority of that time he was the group’s chairman, but last Monday he called it a day to a round of applause.

Mr Bunyan, who will remain on the group as a community councillor, thanked everyone for their support.

The former Dunbar Grammar School teacher said: “It feels slightly odd having been really doing it for what is beginning to feel, in retrospect, like a lifetime.

“I came to Dunbar expecting to be here for a couple of years, that was the way things were moving in education at the time.”

Mr Bunyan, who turns 85 on Monday, received an MBE in 2015 for his voluntary work in the county and has been involved in a wide range of groups from the Air Cadets to the twinning association.

The former principal teacher of history at the town’s secondary school was also appointed as Deputy Lieutenant for East Lothian in 1997 and held the role for 11 years.

However, it is on the community council where he has spent more than 40 years.

The Beveridge Row resident said: “I thought I would be chairman for two or three years.

“Each time it came up for my removal, people said there was no reason for me to give it up and they said I was doing a good job and to keep going.”

Mr Bunyan gave a brief history of the group and how things had changed in Dunbar during his annual report at the meeting at Dunbar Town House.

That included the demolition of the Victoria Ballroom and the creation of the Bleachingfield Centre, Hallhill Sports Centre and Dunbar Leisure Pool.

He finished his speech by saying: “I would like to thank the community council for its support and encouragement over the years and for its patience when I have ridden hobby horses. I wish it well for the years to come but I am not quitting just yet.”

Mr Bunyan, who was presented with a portrait by his colleagues, was confident that Pippa Swan – who has become only the fourth person to chair the group, following in the footsteps of Mr Bunyan, David Bertram, who was the group’s first chairman, and Dan Cairney, who was chairman while Mr Bunyan was a councillor – was a fitting successor.

He said: “She has got energy, imagination and she does not suffer fools gladly but in general terms is a person who will do it well, I have no doubt about that.

“I have worked with her both on the community council and also on the area partnership and know she is a driving force.”

Dunbar’s three councillors all paid tribute to Mr Bunyan.

Councillor Norman Hampshire said: “I have worked with Stephen the whole time from when I was a community councillor, then onto the council; although we were from different political parties, we have always had a good relationship.

“He has been a great ambassador for the town.”

Councillor Paul McLennan also paid tribute and added: “Stephen has been a mainstay of the community council for a long period of time. He was previously a councillor in Dunbar and he was a teacher – he was my history teacher going back a lot of years.

“He has served Dunbar over a long period of time and I wish him all the best.”

And Councillor Sue Kempson said: “When I first met Stephen Bunyan, his great love of Dunbar and its people were abundantly clear. As I have come to know him I have seen the huge contribution he has made to the life and culture of the town. On a personal level, as a new councillor, I have found his knowledge and experience invaluable.”