EIGHT councillors with more than 200 years of experience between them have been given honorary titles in recognition of their long service.

The accolade is given to former councillors judged to have given “eminent” service to the council.

Durham County Council agreed to give the honour to eight of its former members at a meeting this week.

To be eligible, they must have served at least four terms or 16 complete years but no longer be councillors.

Those to receive the honour this year were Joe Armstrong, Jim Cordon, Neil Foster, Michele Hodgson, June Lee, Nigel Martin, Joan Maslin and Paul Stradling.

Twelve people who were either not re-elected or retired before May’s election met the criteria.

Grenville Holland, Keith Davidson, Barbara Graham and Peter May, who were councillors for a collective 107 years, had already been given the status following the abolition of the former district council in 2009.

Speaking at a council meeting on Wednesday, Councillor Amanda Hopgood said: “For these people to have done four terms is an achievement and three people have done more than double that.

“Everyone in this room knows how hard it is.”

The longest serving councillor was Joan Maslin, who had represented the east Durham area for 39 years.