A FORMER chief health and housing officer has been honoured for more than half a century of dedication.

Gordon Stephenson, 82, who has dedicated his life to working in public environmental services, has been given a certificate to mark 60 years as a member of the Charter Institute of Environmental Health.

Mr Stephenson, who was chief health and housing officer in Ryedale until 1992, said: “I was quite surprised when they told me I would be presented with a certificate and that it had reached 60 years.

“I got one for 50 years and it doesn’t seem like that long ago. I have enjoyed all of it and it was all greatly interesting.”

Gordon, who now lives in Strensall, also worked for Hambleton District Council for 18 months after leaving Ryedale District Council where he worked for about 48 years.

While he worked for Hambleton District Council, he lived in Kirkbymoorside, and similar to his role in Ryedale, he had a wide range of duties, including pest control, licensing of trading establishments and inspecting factories, such as Malton bacon factory.

Gordon attributed some of the success of his work during the past 60 years to members of the public who he worked alongside.

He said: “I had to get the support of the people in the community and I always made sure that I gave members of the public the information they needed.

“One of the most difficult applications was when the proposal was made to build the gas pipe at Knapton.”

He also paid tribute to former Gazette & Herald journalist and editor Arthur Bumby, who he dealt with during his years working in Ryedale.

“He was one of those reporters that I could tell anything and if it was something which was not to be publicised yet, but would help him to understand the background, then I would explain it to him,” he said.

“I just used to say to him ‘not for publication, Arthur’ and he never ever went against his word.”

Despite officially retiring following his work with Hambleton District Council, Gordon still takes a keen interest in all aspects of environmental health in Ryedale and keeps up-to-date through a newsletter sent out by the institute.