Civic honours recognise over 150 years combined service
Six former Telford and Wrekin Councillors have received civic honours in recognition of their service and dedication to the borough.
At a special meeting held last night (Thursday 29 November) at Telford Theatre, the former councillors, who have 153 years’ service to the borough between them, were made Honorary Aldermen of the Borough of Telford and Wrekin, the highest civic honour a council can bestow.
Presenting the civic honours, Cllr Ian Preece, Deputy Mayor of the Borough of Telford and Wrekin, said: “The role of Honorary Alderman of the Borough is the highest award that a local authority can make to a former councillor and is awarded for eminent services to the council. So, it is my privilege as Deputy Mayor of Telford and Wrekin to present these civic honours, and to thank the recipients for their services to our local community.”
Councillor Shaun Davies, Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, added: “It is this council’s privilege to recognise, thank and honour these former councillors who all dedicated many years of service to our borough, and we do so in the highest way we can.
“Between them, these six passionate and committed individuals have given over 150 years of service to their fellow residents of our borough. It’s clear that whilst the name of the council may have changed over the years, their dedication certainly hasn’t. On behalf of the council, and the residents of our borough, we thank them and honour each of them with the title of Alderman, which embodies dignity and pride.”
Former councillor Mr Malcolm Smith, BEM, was made an Honorary Alderman of the Borough in recognition of 50 years’ service, as councillor for Hadley and Leegomery. One of the longest serving members, he was first elected to Wrekin District Council, and served as Chair in 1994 and in 1998. He has twice been Speaker of the Council, from 2004 to 2006 and again from 2018 to 2019, and has also served as the Mayor of the Borough three times; in 2006, 2011 and 2014.
Former Wrockwardine Wood and Trench councillor Mr Charles Smith was made an Honorary Alderman of the Borough in recognition of 28 years’ service as a ward member. During this time, he held a range of Cabinet roles and was Deputy Leader of the Council between 2004 and 2006, and Speaker of the Council from 2016 to 2018.
Former Priorslee councillor Mrs Veronica Fletcher was made an Honorary Alderman of the Borough in recognition of her 23 years as a councillor for Priorslee. Veronica served as Deputy Mayor of the Borough in 2002, before becoming Mayor of the Borough in 2003.
Former councillor for Woodside, Ms Rae Evans was made an Honorary Alderman of the Borough in recognition of 12 years of service to the borough, during which time she held a range of Cabinet and committee roles. She also served as Mayor of the Borough of Telford and Wrekin in 2016 and is currently a councillor on Madeley Town Council.
Former councillor for Malinslee and Dawley Bank, the Lord Kuldip Singh Sahota, Baron Sahota of Telford was made an Honorary Alderman of the Borough in recognition of 22 years’ service to the borough. During this time, he was Deputy Speaker of the Council between 2004 and 2006, and Leader of the Council from 2011 to 2016. Lord Sahota was also the Chair of Telford & Wrekin Policing Board and sat on the West Mercia Police Authority from 2007 to 2011.
Former councillor Mr Alan Mackenzie was made an Honorary Alderman of the Borough in recognition of 18 years’ service as a councillor for Cuckoo Oak, during which time he was elected as the first Civic Head of Telford & Wrekin Council, in 2001.
The role of Honorary Alderman of the Borough is non-political and entitles recipients to attend and take part in civil ceremonies, as well as supporting the office of the Mayor at events. They do not have any influence in meetings, nor do they receive any allowance or other payment.
This is only the third time Telford and Wrekin Council has held such a special meeting, with these six new Honorary Aldermen joining a roll of councillors who were awarded the status in 2022 and 2023. These are:
- Mr Keith Austin, 2022
- Mr Robert Groom, 2022
- Mrs Louise Lomax, 2022
- Mr Clive Mason, 2022
- Mr John Minor BEM, 2022
- Mr Barry Tillotson, 2022
- Mr David Wright, 2023
In line with local government rules, a council may only bestow these honours to up to eight former councillors in any four-year council term.