ONE of the town’s stalwart politicians has been given a Royal seal of approval for more than four decades of service to the community.
Councillor Jim McElroy met the Prince of Wales recently at Buckingham Palace where he was awarded an MBE.
Mr McElroy, who twice served as the council chairman, was offered the MBE for his services to local government and the community in Banbridge.
On hearing of Mr McElroy’s long service in the area and participation on various local committees, Prince Charles said it seemed “Banbridge would fall apart without you!”
The DUP councillor, who has served with the local council for more than 40 years, travelled to London with his wife Evelyn, daughter and two daughters-in-law for the prestigious ceremony in late November.
Mr McElroy, who was informed earlier this year that he would be bestowed the honour, said he will cherish his trip to the palace.
“It was a privilege to be able to travel to Buckingham Palace with my family and meet Prince Charles,” he said. “I have always enjoyed my work in the local community here in Banbridge and it is an added bonus to be recognised at this level.
“I spoke to Prince Charles briefly and he seemed very interested in what I do here in Banbridge. When I told him how long I’ve been here and the committees I sit on he joked that it sounded like the place might fall apart without me!”
Throughout his time as a councillor Mr McElroy said he has enjoyed meeting new people and being in a position to help those in need with any issues they may face.
“I’ve helped anyone who came to me with problems, whether they were personal,private or public,” he told the Leader earlier this year. “Satisfaction in knowing you have been able to help someone is the best thing about being a councillor. When you do a job for someone you get great satisfaction from it.”
Mr McElroy dedicated the award to all those who have helped him during his political career. “I am truly humbled and honoured to have received this award,” he said. “Over the years, I acknowledge the support and assistance of many people along the way, and in tribute to them, I am delighted to be considered worthy of this award from Her Majesty the Queen.”