FORMER Lord Mayor of York and City of York Councillor Sonja Crisp has revealed the reasons behind her resignation.

Cllr Crisp announced she would stand down from her role as Holgate councillor on Friday, and her decision was due in part to a neurological condition, Willis-Ekbom disease.

Also known as restless leg syndrome, the disorder means sufferers’ limbs do not stop moving, and Cllr Crisp said she had been managing the condition for about 15 years.

She said: “Sometimes are worse than others but when it’s bad, it’s very difficult to cope. I’ve been kept awake for two or three days at a time. That’s not getting any better. It’s fairly under control with medication but it can break through the medication every now and then. It’s been getting a little bit worse and my family said ‘why don’t you just resign, mum? You’re 63 and why not just do what you want to do, move to the country and have some laid back time with your family’? So I though, yes, I’m not going to put it off.”

Cllr Crisp said she and her husband are moving away from York to spend time with their family, and a nine-week-old Cockapoo puppy.

She said: “I’ve missed some grandchildren growing up during my years as a full-time councillor, so I’m moving to Scotland, closer to my eldest son. The idea is we have a place everyone can come and congregate so we will be seeing a lot more of the family now.

“That’s really good news for me and I can do some of the things I’ve always wanted. I’ve always wanted to get a dog, but didn’t have time to spend with one.”

On her controversial time as Lord Mayor of York - which saw her suspended from the Labour Party over an email spat during the closure of the Mansion House - Cllr Crisp said it was “a wonderful office” which “means an awful lot to the city”, but with hindsight, she may not have taken the role.

She said: “I think I may not have taken the mayoralty had I realised what was going to happen. Everyone would like to have foresight. It’s a great honour to be Lord Mayor and I don’t want to belittle that office, but it was a difficult year for me. I think I carried that. I held my head high, did the job and made some really tremendous friends for life.

“With hindsight, maybe I wouldn’t have done that year, or waited and done it in my last year if possible, but I had already been selected for that year and we carried on regardless. We, the civic party, did a good job as far as I’m concerned, and raised about £45,000 over that year for charity.”

Looking back on her 11 years with the council, Cllr Crisp said she would be sorry not to see the Community Stadium project through to completion, but “I can go along and see that once it’s opened”, and she had fond memories of her time in the city.

She said: “I have absolutely loved every minute of being Holgate councillor, and made some great friends in the ward and with residents and I think we achieved quite a lot as the Labour group as well. I feel that the Libraries and Archive Mutual (in which libraries left council control and were taken over by an independent charity) was something I was very proud of and if you’re achieving one thing you can leave as a legacy, I’m hoping that’s one I’m going to leave.

“I think I’m proudest of that and the Tour de France. It was a one-off thing and we managed to get a really good deal for York, with the second leg and accommodation, it was really important to the economy. I think that was tremendous success and one of my most exciting times on the council. That brought York and Yorkshire into the world stage really, and made people realise how beautiful Yorkshire was.”

Looking ahead, she said she hoped “to see new blood on the council”, and though she did not know who the candidates for her post would be, she felt there was no reason Labour could not hold the ward.