A COUPLE who served as Labour councillors for decades is stepping down.

Philip and Celia Tibble will not stand at next week’s elections for Allerdale council. However the couple said they will continue to be active within the Labour Party, of which they have both been members for many years.

Philip, 68, who represents the Clifton ward, has served on Allerdale’s executive, while Celia, 63, represents the Seaton ward on both Allerdale and the parish council. She will continue to represent the ward for the county council.

The Tibbles, who have three children and six grandchildren, want to spend more time with their family.

Celia, who has has been a councillor since 1995, joked that being on the council with her husband meant they got to go out together at least once a month. She said: “I always had an interest in local government and how services are run, and through my political activity I realised being a councillor would be the best way to help the community.

“Now I want to retire not just from paid work – I have lots of interests I’d like to pursue and I’d like to be able to go on holiday without worrying about missing a council meeting.”

Phil, who has been a councillor in the area for 18 years, said he got involved with local politics to improve services and he was particularly proud of his involvement with the local community safety partnership and youth engagement.

He said: “I’m 68 and I’m not getting any younger. There are a lot of things I’d like to do for myself but I’ll still be a member of the Labour Party and be active within that.

The couple said that although they always had the same political views, their involvement with Allerdale council has been different, with Celia focusing on scrutiny and Phil serving on the executive.

Phil said: “One thing I’ll miss is the staff. In local government they are underrated and they get a lot of stick and unfair criticism, but staff at Allerdale are very good and I will miss the contact with them.”