A FORMER councillor who made history by becoming Ripon’s youngest ever mayor says he is “truly humbled” to receive a British Empire Medal in the New Year honours list.

John Richmond – who was once nicknamed Mr Ripon – was the youngest person to be appointed to the mayoral office at 39-years-old in 1975 when he also became the only serving mayor to carry out the city’s ancient hornblower ceremony.

The now 85-year-old has been awarded a BEM for his services to Ripon which he represented on Ripon City Council, Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council more than 14 years.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I am very humbled, truly humbled to receive this award – I have had so many messages of congratulations which have been marvellous.

“In life some things happen by mistake and some things you can make happen, but what you have got to remember is there no such thing as ‘can’t’.

“That has been my approach to life and always will be.”

Mr Richmond said his highlights as councillor were successfully stopping plans to turn Ripon Grammar School – where he studied as a teenager – into a comprehensive as well as playing a key role in blocking housing proposals for near Hell Wath Nature Reserve.

During his time in office, the father-of-two also travelled to America to meet with the mayors of Ripon, California, and Ripon, Wisconsin for the country’s 1976 bicentennial celebrations.

Mr Richmond was born in Kirkby Malzeard and ran a guest house with his late wife Barbara for 26 years.

He said Barbara was the “driving force” behind his life achievements and that he would take the BEM award in her name.

The mayor of Harrogate, councillor Stuart Martin MBE, paid tribute to Mr Richmond who he described as a “straight talking Yorkshireman always looking to help others.”

He said: “This award for John is well deserved and I could not praise him enough. He is hard working and always has been very community minded.”