THE former clerk of a parish council in the Lake District has reflected on his long service after bringing his 17-year tenure to a close.

Michael Johnson said he 'never wanted to leave' the position at the Ambleside-based Lakes Parish Council (LPC) but that 'time has caught up with me'.

"I liked being where I was working for the people of the parish," he said.

"You have got to be able to talk to people and you have got to be able to deliver outcomes."

A farewell party was held in honour of Mr Johnson. He was presented with a painting of Ambleside's famous Bridge House, done by Troutbeck artist Stephen Kelly.

Prior to his LPC role, Mr Johnson, 77, was clerk at Aspatria Town Council.

He now lives in Durham, having moved there in 2018.

He recalled highlights and odd events during his tenure - saying LPC had managed to ensure 'there is a bus shelter in virtually every village' in the parish, which also includes areas such as Grasmere and Rydal.

He once found his picture pasted over buses and bus shelters across Cumbria after, he says, he had his photograph taken as part of a 'lengthsman campaign' by the county council.

"My grandson rang me and said 'grandad, I have seen you on the back of a bus in Carlisle'," said Mr Johnson.

He also remembered a woman getting locked in public toilets Ambleside. The cleaner had, apparently, called in to check and received no response so had closed them up.

"She rang the emergency services," said Mr Johnson.

"They contacted me and I arranged to get her out."

Mr Johnson said he had intended to retire three years ago but 'it never quite happened'.

He has been replaced in the role by Charlene Bell.