A LONG-STANDING Calne town councillor is stepping down from her role due to ill health, after dedicating more than 20 years to the town.

Councillor Mercy Baggs, who has represented people in the Chilvester and Abberd ward since 1995, has decided to retire from the town council after a viral infection left her struggling to carry on.

"I have done this for over 20 years and I feel like I have done quite a lot in that time, but I had a viral infection earlier this year which knocked it right out of me," the 85-year-old said. "I am really sorry to be leaving but I must admit my health is not as good as it used to be and I must thank my fellow councillors for helping me.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a councillor and I have thoroughly enjoyed representing the people of Abberd Ward."

The three-time town mayor relished any opportunity to help people in need and looks back fondly on the time she helped a youth town council secure Beversbrook Road in 1998 with a series of petitions, her long-fought campaign to get the regeneration of Abberd Way signed off and the creation of the drop-in centre.

"It is a the satisfaction of getting things done that I will miss," Coun Baggs added. "People who have heard I am stepping down have called me to say thank you. If you are going to be a councillor, you have to be pro-active and sort out any problems that come your way."

The town council will see an election in only one ward next month as three of the four wards did not have enough candidates to fill the vacant seats. The election for the Calne Chilvester and Abberd ward will be held on May 4 from 7.30am-10pm, alongside the Wiltshire Council elections.

Liberal Democrats Heather Canfer, Robert Merrick, Tories Tony Trotman and Rich Jones, Labour's Mike Macgregor-Fairlie, UKIP's Julia Reid and Independent Graham Redfern will battle it out for votes for the four available seats.

In the Calne North ward, Liberal Democrats Glenis Ansell and Declan Boore, Labour's Jon Fisher and Tory Tom Rounds will take four of the five available seats unopposed while Labour's John Boaler and Terry Couchman, Liberal Democrats Robert Macnaughton and Ian Thorn and Tory Howard Marshall take the five available seats in the Calne Central ward.

Finally, Calne South ward will be served by Tories Greg Widger, Edward Riley and Alan Hill, Labour's John Bennett and Indepedent David Conway in the five available seats.