A councillor who has represented the South Richmond ward for 12 years will retire before the May elections.

Councillor Frances Bouchier, 78, a Conservative councillor since 2002, announced she would not seek re-election this year.

She said: “I am sorry to retire in May 2014.

“It has been a privilege to represent south Richmond for 12 years and I am grateful for all the support I have received.

“Being a local councillor has been a wonderful experience.

“I have learned a great deal about local politics, the borough, laws, regulations, the people and enjoyed it all very much. I will miss the contact with residents.”

The councillor filled the role of champion for older residents which she said was more exacting than she ever thought - with requests for help still coming in from immobile and lonely elderly residents.

She is a governor of The Vineyard School, sits on teh board of homeless charity Spear as well as Richmond Charities and she recently retired from a directing role at the Orange Tree Theatre.

She said: “I am looking forward to seeing my friends, doing a bit of travel, playing golf, bridge and studying trees.”

South Richmond ward Conservatives have selected Peter Buckwell to replace Coun Bouchier, alongside Councillor Thomas O’Malley and Councillor Pamela Fleming both of whom are standing again.