IT was the end of history at Christchurch on Thursday night as the final council meeting was held before the council is abolished this weekend.

The new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole unitary authority comes into being on Monday and will be the 12 largest local authority in England.

Councillors lined up to pay tribute to the council, its staff and the community.

At the beginning of proceedings there was a minute's silence for the victims of the shootings in twin town, Christchurch, New Zealand.

A somewhat sombre mood permeated the evening as members reflected on the demise of the council and the end of 700 years of sovereignty.

The Mayor's chaplain, the Rev Charles Stuart who said everyone should be "mindful of the borough's past, grateful for the present and trustful for the future."

The longest serving councillor Colin Bungey, his voice cracking with emotion said: "I have a great sense of pride and satisfaction in having served the residents for 36 years, but this is a very sad day."

Cllr Bungey, a former mayor and an honorary alderman added: "This ancient borough is one of the oldest in England and it about to be made redundant.We must make sure our history, our heritage and our regalia are preserved."

Council leader, Cllr David Flagg said would look back on many memories and thanked the officers and staff, past and present, for their hard work and dedication.

Cllr Sue Spittle said Christchurch would remain "a beautiful and historic town," and Cllr Claire Bath added: "We all have the common cause of doing what is best for Christchurch to keep it the special place we all love."

The council's chief executive, David McIntosh, spoke with pride about the joint working of Christchurch and East Dorset for the past few years and the authority being at the forefront of initiatives such as Dorset Waste Partnership and the Stour Valley Partnership.

"Change does not come without consequences and this has not been the easiest time. The staff have done everything we have asked them to do and through their efforts we have been able to produce the very best in local government."

The new Christchurch town council which will have the limited powers of a parish comes into being next week.

The last mayor, Cllr Lesley Dedman closed the meeting with the words: "We will adjourn – forever!"