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Aldermen created – long service awards given

Above: Alderman Graham Pask receives his award from Chairman of West Berkshire Council, Councillor Jeremy Cottam

Tributes have been officially paid to councillors in West Berkshire who have been given long service awards.

And a group of former Conservative councillors who were ousted or stood down at the last local council elections have been made honorary aldermen.

At a ceremony at last week’s (Thursday) full council meeting Jeff Brooks (Lib Dem Thatcham West) and former councillors Tony Linden with 35 years service;  Graham Pask, with 36 years; and Jeff Beck, who served 19 years, were given long service awards.

Tributes were paid to Mr Linden who double gonged it with both an honorary aldermen position and a long service award.

“It was a shock when Tony was beaten by just one vote in the last election, a cruel way to be taken out of the role in my opinion,” said Joanne Stewart (Con, Tilehurst Birch Copse).

“I just want to say thank you for the help and support you gave me as a newly elected member in 2019 and congratulations on being nominated as an honorary alderman.”

Mr Brooks has served 25 years on the council. Accepting his long service award he said: “It’s very humbling.

“It’s a great honour and a privilege to work for people here whatever your politics are. And to be supported and do good work for people is just so humbling.

“It is why we work so hard to do our best for the people of West Berkshire.”

Others made honorary aldermen were former Tory councillors Jeff Beck, a former council chairman; Graham Bridgman, a former deputy leader of the council; and Hilary Cole, a one time vice-chairman and deputy leader who has served 16 years on the council.

Ms Cole was described as a “dedicated elected member, with a great deal of knowledge and experience, striving always to do the best for our residents with a determined and very open and honest approach”.

Rick Jones,  Alan Law, Gordon Lundie and Graham Pask also got the honours.

Each of the new aldermen was given a tribute from a still serving Conservative councillor.

“Gordon has been one of the most natural and gifted orators in the chamber,” said Howard Woollaston (Con Lambourn).

“He is also the founding member of PFLOB – the Popular Front for the Liberation of Berkshire – with the aim of  returning the occupied territories of the Vale of White Horse to Berkshire.

“He achieved great things for this council at the cost of offending some sensibilities but he was the right man at the right time for the job and his efforts lead to balanced budgets that subsequent administrations achieved whilst maintaining service delivery.”