A COUNCILLOR’s 36-year reign in South Somerset has come to an end after last week’s election results.

Andrew Turpin represented the Tatworth and Forton ward from 1983 until he was ousted last Thursday.

The veteran politician was battling for a seat in the new Blackdown and Tatworth ward, formed in a recent boundary commission change.

He lost out to Martin Wale, who had been Blackdown ward councillor, and former Chard mayor Jenny Kenton.

However, Andrew said the result did not come as a shock to him.

When he was first elected in the 1980s, he was put up against local political heavyweight Vic Muggeridge.

Andrew said: “I was encouraged to stand, and I wasn’t told this at the time, but I wasn’t expected to win.

“The other candidate was the chairman of the district council and the chairman of the parish council.

“The result astonished everybody, including the local papers.

“I was relatively unknown to them , but I lived in the village and was campaigning on environmental issues, and have been ever since.”

Andrew initially stood as a Liberal Democrat, but has become known as a strongly-spoken independent in recent years.

Andrew’s environmental campaign has seen him champion bus services, call for Chard Junction station’s reopening, and ask for cycling routes into every new planning application.

He said: “There was no recycling when I first started, and we became only the second district council in the country to adopt it.

“I was famously photographed at the first one in Chard in the late 1980s.

“There have been a number of things over the years.

“I was instrumental in getting the path way between Chard and Ilminster, and in forming SELCA (Salisbury to Exeter Lineside Consortium of Local Authorities).

“Our railway from Exeter to Salisbury was very much dilapidated and it had old rolling stock which regularly broke down.

“Our aim was to get an hourly service running and we achieved that. We know have a very good service and better rolling stock.”

Despite missing out on a seat, Andrew said he does not begrudge the other two candidates.

He added: “I was told, as soon as we head about these boundary changes, it would be a very difficult job to keep the seat.

“It is determined by how well you are known. I am well known in Tatworth and Forton, and I like to think well liked.

“I don’t know anybody in Combe St Nicholas or in the Blackdown ward.

“I am not shocked at all and I wouldn’t have liked the other two to have lost.

“If anyone has to lose it should be me. I certainly don’t begrudge them.”