Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill has marked her last ever full council meeting - after 16 years at the helm.

The Liberal Democrat politician is stepping down having spent more than a decade representing the town.

Her final meeting was last night (March 13) and to mark the occasion, councillors Peter Taylor and Nigel Bell reflected on her service to Watford.

Deputy mayor Cllr Peter Taylor, who is standing for mayor on May 3, said: “Since 2002 Dorothy has served as Watford’s elected Mayor – the first female and one of only four women mayors today.

"Even Dorothy’s critics, by and large, recognise the dramatic improvements to the town over the last 16 years.

"Better parks, excellent leisure services, improvements to the town centre, community events and a well-run town hall. These things haven’t happened by chance.

“So, on behalf of the Liberal Democrat group of councillors, both past and present, and on behalf of your many supporters in the town, thank you for your years of service.

"There is no doubt that whoever is this town’s next Mayor will have a very tough act to follow.”

Cllr Nigel Bell, opposition Labour group leader, added: “After many occasions facing opposite each other in this Chamber and despite disagreeing bitterly many times, I recognise we are all elected to do our best for Watford residents and that Dorothy with her mandate has done that.

“It’s quite an achievement to have been an elected councillor for 26 years continuously — 10 years as a backbencher and then 16 as the Mayor.

“I am sure it is right to wish you well personally once you leave this place finally on May 3 and to recognise your elected service to our town.”

Mayor Thornhill said: “It has been a privilege and an honour to serve Watford for the last 26 years - as elected Mayor and as a ward councillor before that.

"I really do believe in the importance and power of local government, which has such an impact on our everyday lives.

"Throughout my time as mayor and as a councillor I’ve always put Watford at the heart of the decisions I’ve made.”

Councillors and council officers presented Dorothy with flowers before starting her 97th – and final – full council meeting as elected Mayor.