AN outgoing councillor received plaudits from all three main political parties in Pendle as her term of office came to an end.

Coun Shelagh Derwent was forced to step down from her Blacko and Higherford seat after being unable to attend a council meeting for six months.

Conservative council leader Coun Joe Cooney said he knew Coun Derwent had faced ‘extremely difficult personal circumstances’ recently but had given valued public service for more than 23 years.

The councillor had served as Pendle’s mayor in 2008-09 and was chairman of governors at Burnley College, as well as a county councillor for Pendle West until late 2012.

Coun Mohammed Iqbal said he would like to thank Coun Derwent, on behalf of the Labour group, for her years of service to the council and wider community.

Coun John David, Liberal Democrat group leader, said while it was fair to say he did not always see ‘eye to eye’ with the councillor he ‘had every respect for her fighting spirit’.

“It is with great sadness that she finds herself in this predicament,” he added.

A by-election to determine her successor will be held on April 3.