Three Wiltshire councillors are celebrating a total of 75 years’ service to the county.

Conservatives Jerry Kunkler, John Thomson and Toby Sturgis have all spent 25 years as representatives for their communities on districts councils and then on the unitary authority.

Cllr Kunkler, who represents Pewsey and is the portfolio holder for leisure and sport, as well as chairing the Pewsey Area Board, had no idea he was in it for the long run when he started out.

He said: “I didn’t think I’d last four years, but now its 25 years onwards.”

In 1983, Cllr Kunkler took his first dip into local politics as a member of the parish council and 12 years later was elected to the council as an independent with 666 votes. He was put on the housing committee and worked on bringing back three-bedroom council houses.

In 2007, he was appointed chairman of Kennet District Council until its dissolution in 2009 when Wiltshire Council took over.

Councillor for the Sherston area, John Thomson said his 25 years had been “a fantastic experience and really rewarding.”

He said: “We’ve had some challenging times, like going to unitary, but I’ve worked with some fantastic people – officers and councillors of all parties and I don’t regret it at all.

“When you are sitting in a village hall at 9pm, at the parish council meeting, discussing what colour to paint the bus stop you do sometimes wonder ‘how did I get talked into this?’

“But there’s many rewarding things you do as well, and I think the best thing is you’re given the opportunity to speak up for people that perhaps don’t have the courage to complain and have a go.

“You hear about things that they’re putting up with, terrible situations, which can very easily be sorted – but we sort out injustices.

“That’s what the council is about. It’s not about the pontificating or politics of the council chamber.”

In his time working in local government Cllr Thomson was deputy leader of Wiltshire Council for 10 years, alongside former leader Baroness Jane Scott, as well as the chairman of the Malmesbury Area Board.

Cllr Thomson said that as time has gone on there was much more pressure and responsibilities because of matters like public health coming into the council’s area of responsibility.

Cllr Toby Sturgis who is the cabinet member for spatial planning, development management and investment and councillor for the Brinkworth area, and spent time as leader of the Conservative Group before the council became a unitary authority.

Cllr Sturgis said: “I would hope my electorate feel I represented them, regardless of their political persuasion and that I’ve protected the area I represent.

“It’s never easy to satisfy everyone, it’s a fine balance to achieve.

Despite the milestone, Cllr Sturgis said he will not be standing in next year’s election. “There’s a very true saying, I think it was Terry Wogan, ‘there’s never a right time to retire, but there’s a very wrong time if you stay too long’.”

Leader of the council, Cllr Philip Whitehead, paid tribute to dedication and commitment of the three councillors.

He said: “I am fortunate to have worked alongside all three and have seen first-hand how they have worked tirelessly to make a real difference. Together they have given 75 years of service to Wiltshire, and considerably more than that in terms of value – a truly commendable achievement.”