A former Rother Council chief and marathon runner who clocked up 43 years of public service has been handed a key community role.
Derek Stevens, who served as chief executive of Rother District Council, has been appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of East Sussex.
The 60-year-old, who represented Great Britain in long distance running, retired from his council role in August last year after 12 years in the post.
Mr Stevens will assist East Sussex Lord Lieutenant Peter Field, the Queen’s personal representative in the county.
He said: “When I was approached, I was shocked and delighted at the same time. It’s a wonderful honour and something you never expect to receive, so I’m very pleased.”
Mr Stevens, who is married to wife Lesley and has two daughters, Sophie and Amy, began his career as a junior clerk at the former Battle Rural District Council in 1970.
He switched to the newly-created Rother District Council in 1974 as an audit clerk, working his way up the ranks to take on roles including chief accountant and treasurer before becoming chief executive in 2001.
The high point in his athletics career came in 1984 when, in an event in the United States, he ran the marathon in 2h 12m 41s, setting a Sussex county record which still stands today.
Malcolm Johnston, Rother Council executive director for resources, said: “This appointment is a great honour and a fitting recognition.”