AS A child, Councillor Lynda Hyde was told by two of her school teachers that she was destined to be a criminal or a politician.

One of their predictions proved accurate and the 71-year-old has represented the Rottingdean Coastal ward since 1999, also serving as chairwoman of the Planning Committee for four years.

Much has changed since she embarked on her political career.

Cllr Hyde said: “It was always dog mess when I began as a councillor, but now the main issues are the state of the city in terms of cleanliness and the homeless situation.”

She also revealed one of her proudest moments during her tenure as a councillor, adding: “My greatest achievement was getting the plans for the Amex Stadium through and I can still see the legacy it has created.

“There was plenty of controversy over the building and a lot of Rottingdean residents were worried about the traffic it could cause, but Brighton and Hove Albion have managed it very well.”

She also gave an insight into what it is like to be a councillor, and shared what she thinks are the most important things to remember in the role.

Cllr Hyde added: “It is a great privilege to be a councillor and to be elected.

“But, you must never forget that you are a public servant elected to work for the residents of the city and especially your ward.

“For me, it is fantastic to think I have had a lasting input into the city as I am Brighton born, bred and schooled.”

On May 21, 2015, Cllr Hyde was elected by her fellow councillors as the mayor-elect in Brighton and described the experience as the “best year of my life as a councillor”.

She said: “It was overwhelming.

“As a child I always had opinions and I was not the best of pupils.

“A teacher in my primary school and my secondary school said to me, ‘Lynda, you will either go to prison or be a politician’.

“I would have loved to say to my teachers that I had become the mayor.”

In her time as mayor, Cllr Hyde raised a record sum for her chosen charities, the Grace Eyre Foundation, The Martlet’s Hospice and The Argus Appeal.

Having held her position on the council for 20 years, she revealed her approach to the role.

Cllr Hyde said: “Always listen to what people say. If they ask you to do something, act on it.

“Always be considerate of people and their problems and always recognise that we live in a democratic society and if people don’t share your opinion you should respect that.

“Every issue is major to the person who raised it, and you are elected to serve them.”

In January this year, Cllr Hyde announced she would be retiring and will not be contesting the local elections in May.

She said: “If you are going to do this job properly you have to be prepared to put in a lot of hours. Over the last 20 years, my family have sometimes had to take a back seat.

“That’s my real reason for standing down.”

“I have loved my time as a councillor but now I’m really looking forward to not having to check my council emails on the first day after I step down.

“Nothing lasts forever and it’s now time for me to spend a lot more time with my family and friends.”

But, despite her years of service, Cllr Hyde is not the longest serving councillor in her family.

Her parents split when she was four years old and she said she did not have contact with her father. But, during a visit to Carlisle, she found out that her father had served as a councillor in the city for more than 30 years.

Throughout her time as a councillor, she said she had met many “wonderful” people including “both residents and fellow councillors”. Cllr Hyde said: “It can take me two hours to walk down High Street in Rottingdean because I see so many people I know. I count myself as very lucky.”