Five former councillors named Honorary Aldermen and Alderwomen

Five former Cannock Chase councillors who clocked up more than a century of civic service between them have been named Honorary Aldermen and Alderwomen.

Cannock Chase Council Civic Centre
Cannock Chase Council Civic Centre

The veteran elected members include four who stood down at this year’s Cannock Chase Council elections and all five served on the cabinet or shadow cabinet during their tenures.

Former council leader George Adamson and ex-chairman Frank Allen become Honorary Aldermen, while former cabinet members Muriel Davies and Christine Martin and ex-shadow cabinet member Hyra Sutton will be Honorary Alderwomen.

The titles were unanimously approved at an extraordinary full council meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Allen, former ward member for Cannock North, served as a councillor for 45 years in total, across two terms from 1976 to 1994 and 1995 to 2022. During his time on the authority he was a cabinet member for housing and shadow deputy leader and cabinet member for housing and later neighbourhood safety and partnerships. He also twice served as vice chairman and chairman of the council.

The council’s current deputy leader Bryan Jones, speaking at Wednesday’s meeting, said: “I would like to point out Councillor Allen’s 45 years’ no doubt exceptional service. I don’t know anyone who has a bad word to say about Frank.

“My good wishes go to him. We wish him all the best on this award which is so richly deserved.”

Councillor Jones also paid tribute to Conservative colleague Mrs Sutton, a former shadow cabinet member for health and wellbeing who served on the authority from 2009 to 2022 – 13 years and three months in total. She represented the Cannock West ward.

He said: “She served her constituents extremely well during this time. Planning was a real passion for her and right until the end she was fighting the corner for her residents.”

Mrs Martin, a former deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for health and wellbeing, was an elected member from 1988 to 2000. She returned for a fourth term in 2016 and lost her Hagley seat in the 2021 election.

New opposition group leader Tony Johnson said: “For 17 years Christine Martin was an excellent servant to the people of Rugeley and Cannock Chase.”

Mr Adamson, who represented Hednesford Green Heath, also served two separate stints on Cannock Chase Council, from 1980 to 1993 and 2010 to 2022 – 25 years in total. He was council leader for 15 years over two periods and most recently was opposition group leader before he stood down at the latest election.

Mrs Davies was a councillor for 24 years, from 1998 to 2022, and represented Cannock East. She was cabinet member responsible for health and wellbeing as well as overseeing the same portfolio on the shadow cabinet.

The title of Honorary Alderman or Alderwoman can be awarded to any former Cannock Chase Councillor who has served a minimum of 12 years, or three terms in office, but has now retired either through standing down or losing their seat at election.

Outgoing council chairman Doug Smith said the titles were “much-deserved awards for exemplary service”. He added: “The best thing you can do is give your time and effort.”

The title is awarded to retired Cannock Chase Council members, who have either stood down by choice “or at the will of the electorate” according to council criteria.

A retired councillor must be considered to have “rendered eminent services to the district” and have served at least 12 years on the authority – equivalent to three terms in office – but the terms do not have to be consecutive.

Nominations must be made by a serving member of Cannock Chase Council and the process takes place once a year.

After approval is given to bestow the title of Honorary Alderman or Alderwoman by the full council a presentation takes place at a later meeting.

Names of Honorary Aldermen and Alderwomen are inscribed on an Honours Board in the Civic Suite and title holders may attend and take part in civic ceremonies.

But Honorary Aldermen and Alderwomen do not receive allowances or other payments under section 173 to 176 of the Local Government Act 1972.

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