DECADES of dedication to the Darlington community have led to former councillor Peter Freitag picking up an MBE from Buckingham Palace.

Former estate agent Mr Freitag was first elected onto Darlington Borough Council in 1941 and served the South Park ward – now Park East and West – for several decades.

He was always quick to support residents’ campaigns and has also served as chairman and president of the northern region Liberal Democrats for the last 11-years.

Mr Freitag says one of his proudest achievements within the Darlington community has been working with mental health charity Mind of which he has been a trustee for more than 30-years.

He said: “It has been very rewarding to help people from almost destruction to start a new life.

“The people that I did it with were all good people; they gave up their own time and what they were doing was much more important that political work, in my view.”

Mr Freitag received his MBE for services to the community on Tuesday and said he had a joke with Prince Andrew as he collected the honour.

“They said I certainly put a smile on Prince Andrew’s face that day,” he said.