A COUNCIL leader has announced he will be stepping down from his role in 2019.

Graham Jones is set to retire from West Berkshire Council at the district council elections in May.

He intends to focus on his career in pharmacy and spend time travelling, having first been elected to the council in 1997.

Cllr Jones said: “It is with mixed feelings that I have decided not to seek re-election in May, but I am pleased to have played my part in shaping West Berkshire over the past 22 years.

“While West Berkshire, like many local authorities, has faced enormous financial pressure in the wake of the central government cuts to budgets, I have always sought to do the very best that I can for my constituents and the residents of West Berkshire.

"I genuinely believe that the district has a developed an even stronger identity and will continue go from strength to strength.

“I shall miss working with my council colleagues and I particularly want to thank the staff and officers at West Berkshire Council for their support over my time as councillor and leader.”

He resumed the role as leader of the council in 2017, having served in the same post from 2005 to 2012.

The second term started after the death of Roger Croft, who was involved in a road traffic collision in France, which also killed his wife Zelda.

Cllr Jones has represented Lambourn for more than two decades and he will remain in his role until the elections.

In 2010, he was part of a five-strong team who cycled from Newbury to Paris for charity, a ride which raised more than £3,000 for Swings and Smiles.

The keen cyclist followed this up two years later by travelling through each parish in West Berkshire in a single day - covering 135 miles for charity.