TWO councillors have been recognised after their many years of service in a Tynedale town.

Cllr John Clark and Cllr Dr Graham Ridley were granted Haltwhistle's first honorary freeman of the town titles in front of 100 people on November 21 at The Methodist Church.

John Clark has served on Haltwhistle Town Council for 50 years, since he was first elected in 1973.  

John also represented Haltwhistle on Tynedale District Council for 18 years and was made an Honorary Alderman for his services to Tynedale.  He was Chairman of the Policy and Resources and the Housing Committee.

John began working in Haltwhistle in 1967 for the firm of J M Clark & Partners as a land agent, working on many estates over the north of England and in Scotland. 

The family firm started in Haltwhistle in 1847. 

John’s family gifted the town the land, which is now known as Coronation Park.  

John’s godfather was Douglas Smith, who founded Smith & Walton Paint Works, which for many years was the major employer in Haltwhistle.  

John has served on the Smith Trust for more than 40 years and over the years they have given many donations to Haltwhistle and the surrounding area including £50,000 for gym equipment at the new leisure centre. 

John played cricket for Haltwhistle for many years and, he was made a vice-president of the West Tyne League for his services to junior cricket. 

Many people in Haltwhistle would go to Featherstone to play cricket and enjoy a great day out.

His other great interest is rugby and he played for Tynedale Rugby Club for many years. 

He took on the training of the Colts Team and ran the team for over 30 years.

He would collect the players from their homes and take them to training on a Thursday.

He has made many friends in rugby circles and his commitment and dedication to junior rugby is legendary and he was made a life member for his immense contribution to Tynedale Rugby Club.

Dr Graham Ridley was a councillor for over 20 years and represented the Town Council on Haltwhistle Partnership for many years. 

Prior to that he also served as a member of Tynedale District Council until it ended in 2009.

He was involved in many projects on behalf of the partnership such as the Haltwhistle Burn Improvements. 

He was involved in the development of the partnership with the purchase of the Property Portfolio in the Market Place.

He was a trustee of Young & Sweet from its creation along with being a school governor for the middle school.

Dr Ridley was on the Haltwhistle and District Joint Burial Committee for some time and was chairman of the Haltwhistle Town Council Staffing Committee. 

Dr Ridley was also a much-respected GP in Haltwhistle and campaigned for many years for the new hospital which opened in 2013.