CLLR Azhar Ali has been awarded a OBE in this year's New Year's Honours list.

The Labour leader for Lancashire County Council has received the accolade for his service to the community in the North West.

He said: "It took a while to sink in and it still hasn't sunk in really.

"It's not an honour for me as an individual it's an honour for the communities I serve and all the people who are out there working tirelessly to try and make a difference."

Cllr Ali, from Brierfield, started his political career as the leader of the Students Union at Nelson and Colne College before he went to university.

At 24, he joined Pendle Council, working his way up to leader from 2000 to 2003.

Whilst leader of Pendle Council, he was voted by other council leaders to be Chairman of the North West Regional Assembly.

He added: "I have been active in community work since the age of 17 and I always wanted the opportunity to serve people and help others.

"Obviously I am delighted to receive the honour but it is for all the people out there that make a difference in the community, big or small."

Cllr Ali had a five year stint in as a government advisor, serving under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

In 2013, he became a county councillor before taking position as Labour leader for Lancashire County Council.