Former Worthing mayor Lionel Harman has been made an honorary alderman by Worthing Borough Council.
Mr Harman was conferred the title of Honorary Alderman at a special full council meeting on Tuesday, December 13, for serving as mayor of the borough from 2020 to 2021.
He also served as a Conservative member for Castle ward for eight years, being first elected in 2015 and again in 2019, and was the council’s Armed Forces Champion.
In accepting the title, Mr Harman said although it had been an ‘honour’ to serve the people of Worthing, it was ‘sad’ that he might be one of the last to receive the title.
Due to recent rules changes made by the current Labour administration, ceremonial robes and honorary alderman conferments were scrapped, with new aldermen only able to be those eligible to receive the title at the time it was removed.
Councillor Samuel Theodoridi (Lab, Castle) said the council was considering a new award in the place of honorary aldermen to open it up to the public, rather than just former council members and mayors.
Mr Harman said being an alderman was similar to receiving a local ‘OBE or MBE’, stating that opening the award up to the broader public would be a good idea, as the history of the title ‘honorary alderman’ is the important part to the traditions and culture of Worthing.
In his acceptance speech he said: “The principles that guide me have always been the same: to respect everybody, to honour those that have made a sacrifice to give us the freedoms we have now, take pride in my country and community, be honest, accountable, selfless and fair.
“The way councillors dress and present themselves matters, the traditional gowns of office do not set them away from the public, in fact the opposite is true. People are drawn to councillors because of the gowns they wear, they are a statement of the authority given to them by the people, so the people know who their councillors are.”
Former mayors Henna Chowdury (Lab, Gaisford) and Hazel Thorpe (LDem, Tarring) applauded Mr Harman for his contributions to the town and support during their terms.