Former Ackworth councillor Roy Hirst celebrates 40 years of service

Ackworth Parish Council has named Carr Bridge Play Area 'The Roy Hirst Play Area' in recognition of his 40 years' service on the council. He was chairman of its playing fields and changing rooms committee and led the team who worked to get the play area on Carr Bridge Playing Field upgraded.'pictured with Roy Hirst are Elizabeth Ford, Richard Molloy, Sarah Balfour, Dave Johnson, Sue Hollyhead, Terry Hollyhead, Sue Templeman

Ackworth Parish Council has named Carr Bridge Play Area 'The Roy Hirst Play Area' in recognition of his 40 years' service on the council. He was chairman of its playing fields and changing rooms committee and led the team who worked to get the play area on Carr Bridge Playing Field upgraded.'pictured with Roy Hirst are Elizabeth Ford, Richard Molloy, Sarah Balfour, Dave Johnson, Sue Hollyhead, Terry Hollyhead, Sue Templeman

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Former Ackworth councillor Roy Hirst has celebrated his 40 years service to the community by having a play area named after him.

Mr Hirst, 70, was first elected to Ackworth Parish Council in 1974.

He campaigned as chairman of the council’s playing fields and changing rooms committee for improvements at the village’s Carr Bridge Play Area and Playing Fields.

Now, after retiring from the council in May, its members named the play area in his name.

Mr Hirst, of Chapel Garth, said: “I still can’t quite believe that the council has decided to do this.

“It is a really big honour. It is beyond anything I ever imagined.”

Mr Hirst also served for 11 years as a district councillor on Wakefield Council where he worked his way up to being chief whip and cabinet member without portfolio.

He also sat on boards of governors at local schools and the board of the Eastern Wakefield Primary Care Trust.

Mr Hirst said: “I can see the playing fields from my back garden and having worked hard to get the improvements I still feel a sense of ownership for them.

“While I was on the committee we changed Carr Bridge from just a field to playing fields with state-of-the-art changing rooms.”

Having lost both his legs in a car accident at the age of just six, Mr Hirst also sat as chairman of the council’s equal opportunities committee.

He also met Nelson Mandela in 1992 when he was granted the freedom of the city of Glasgow.

Mr Hirst said: “I have met some amazing people and have a lot of really nice memories but the play area tops all of that. To be recognised in my own village means so much.”