The borough's first Liberal councillor has been given an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours.

Back in the 1950s, when she founded the first Sutton Young Liberals Group, Ruth Shaw was told liberalism had not future but in 1961 she was elected to the council. By 1986 the Liberal Democrats became the council's ruling party and have been ever since.

Now Mrs Shaw, 87, has been honoured with an OBE for her services to politics.

She said: "I didn't see this coming at all. I was absolutely astonished and obviously very pleased. To get this recognition is wonderful although I don't even feel like I've done all that munch - although I must have been doing something right."

Mrs Shaw was elected to the old north west ward at the seventh time of asking in 1961. She did several stints on the council, both before and after it became a London borough, totalling 24 years and counts her greatest achievement in politics as being a Liberal Democrat councillor when the party took control of Sutton Council in 1986.

She added: "I just believed liberalism was the right way to go. In the 50s people on the doorstep told me it had no future but I couldn't see it that way. Now the Liberal Democrats have been in power here for more than 25 years."

Mrs Shaw also represented Sutton on the Greater London Council and was named an honorary Alderman by Sutton Council in 2011. She lives in North Cheam with her husband of 60 years Arnold and has two children and eight grandchildren.

During her time on the council she was responsible for the implementation of the S bus service to make harder-to-reach areas of the borough more accessible.