VETERAN councillor and former local authority leader Lord Peter Smith has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award.

The Leigh West councillor won the 2019 Cllr Achievement Award for Lifetime Achievement.

The Cllr Awards are the only national awards ceremony to honour the work of councillors and winners were unveiled at the Royal Horseguards Hotel in Westminster.

Lord Smith has served his community since being elected 41 years ago.

He served as chairman of finance at the council before becoming leader for 27 years from 1991 to 2018.

Lord Smith held many positions in the 1980s and 1990s including chairman of the North West Regional Assembly and vice president of the Local Government Association.

He also chaired the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities and Greater Manchester Health. He is currently chairman of the Leadership Centre.

In 1999, he was given the title, Lord Smith of Leigh, in recognition of his work in local government.

Lord Smith was selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award due to his commitment and determination for seeing improvement in the borough and helping to modernise it.

His leadership over many years on the regional stage through the Greater Manchester Combined Authority was key to delivering the devolution deal that saw Greater Manchester take control of powers and budgets from Whitehall in 2014.

Lord Smith is one of the driving forces behind the Wigan Deal and the creation of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, a pivotal moment for devolution in local government.

After decades committed to local government, he has been hailed for his achievements including the Believe in Leigh fund, and successfully attracted large-scale cultural and sporting events to the town.

There were nearly 250 nominations received for the award, a record amount. The winners were selected by a group of judges made up of local government experts and councillors.

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, LGiU said: “Tonight, we are incredibly proud to unveil this year’s Cllr Achievement Award winners, a group of councillors who truly showcase the best of local government.

"As we mark the 10th Anniversary of the Awards, we reflect on the incredible contributions that this year’s winners have made but also the efforts of the hundreds of councillors we have showcased for their achievements in the past.

"These councillors deliver in increasingly challenging and hostile times alongside severe budget constraints.

"And, despite all of that and more, their determination and resolve has left their communities safer, stronger and healthier, thanks to their efforts.

"Their work often goes unrecognised and that is why it is so important that we honour them this evening.

"I would like to extend my most sincere congratulations to Lord Smith and thank him for his commitment to local government.

"We look forward to hearing more about his continued accomplishments in the future.”