Rob McConnell started working at the cemetery, on South Road, on October 18, 1999, staying on beyond the normal retirement age before finally standing at the end of last year.
His 15-plus years of service, encompassing 1,004 burials, saw him involved in many developments at the cemetery.
Coun Grisdale said: “He is renowned for being very skilled with all of the machinery and he keeps the cemetery very well; it is currently the holder of a gold award from Northumbria in Bloom.”
Mr McConnell thanked the Mayor and other councillors for the presentation.
“I have enjoyed it (working at the cemetery) thoroughly and I will help in any way I can if you ever need me,” he added.