Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Aldermen of the Borough

On Tuesday evening, Full Council made former councillors Cliff Hutchinson (Labour) and Sheila Brown (Tory) Honorary Aldermen, who both retired at the last election.

Between them, Cliff and Sheila served on the Council for 84 years, representing Cockerton West and Hummerknott respectively. There's a piece in the Echo here.

The office of Alderman goes back to the Anglo-Saxon period, although since 1972, the title has been purely honorary. There is only one other Honorary Alderman of darlington at present - former Council Leader Jim Skinner.

For the ceremony, the Chamber and the public gallery were packed with many family members and well-wishers. It was one of those occasions which I think Darlington does particularly well - tributes were paid by councillors to both individuals, including from members of the opposing parties (Tony Richmond's warm and moving contribution on Cliff Hutchinson was a high point).

So whilst we may tear lumps out of each other in political debate and at election time, we never forget that the person opposite is a human being, and we show appropriate respect. That's how politics should be.

No comments: