FOUR years ago a father and son set out on a political journey together after a health scare rocked their family.

And so it is fitting that leading Labour councillors Allan and Mark Holliday should step down at the same time.

Both men serve on the Copeland council’s executive and attended their final meeting together earlier this week ahead of next month’s local elections.

Mark, 40, revealed that he only decided to get involved in local politics after his Dad suffered a massive heart attack followed by a potentially fatal bout of pneumonia.

He said: “I was touch and go for a while. But it was while he was in recovery that he said to me ‘I’m going to do four more years (serving as a councillor) and I would love it if we could go on that journey together, and I said ‘yes’. That was the whole reason I became a councillor.

” My Dad has served as a councillor for 36 years. He’s an inspiration to me. He’s a hero to me. If I could be half the man he is, I would be doing very well.”

Allan represents Kells and serves on the executive as Portfolio-holder for Strategic and Regulatory Services, while his son represents Mirehouse and is the portfolio-holder for Communities.

A former miner and postman, Allan has been a Labour councillor for more than half his life.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the 66-year-old said: “I have decided to call it a day after 36 years but I will still be an active member of the Labour Party.

“I have had an excellent time serving with the full support of officers, the Party and the people of Kells. There have been some memorable moments, too many to count.

“There have been some exciting times and some hard times. There have been some big changes. When I was elected in 1983 Haig Pit and Marchon were still there.”

Mark’s work background in the nuclear industry is very business-oriented and this was the area of the council’s work he had expected to enjoy the most.

But it was only when he became involved in the authority’s mission to tackle the scourge of domestic violence across the borough that he found something he was passionate about.

He said: “Coming from a loving family background, I found it very upsetting how prevalent the issue was and I threw everything behind the project.

“I think we have made huge inroads into dealing with the problem.”

Independent mayor Mike Starkie thanked both men for their hard work and support.

He said: “I appreciate how supportive you have been to me and to the organisation. Your contribution has been significant, not least in supporting us through the budget which has put the council on a much better footing.”