The conferring of the title Honorary Alderman is the highest award that can be made to a former Councillor in recognition of exceptional service to the Council.
Becoming an Honorary Alderman
The position of Honorary Alderman is non-political. Somerset Council can award this honour to a Councillor on his or her retirement from the Council.
Honorary Aldermen are proposed and seconded by serving Members of the Council. There must be support for the nomination by not less than two-thirds of the Members voting at a special Council meeting.
To be eligible for nomination, a person must have rendered at least 15 years’ eminent or notable service as a Member of the Somerset Councils Group. They must have made a significant contribution to the Council and the people it represents.
Privileges of an Alderman
- To attend as an observer at meetings of the Council or any other meetings to which the press and public are admitted and to have a seat reserved for this purpose.
- To receive invitations to all civic events to which Members of the Council are invited.
- To wear the Badge of Office of Honorary Alderman on civic occasions.
- On death, to have the Council flags flown on Somerset Council buildings at half-mast.
- To enjoy such other privileges as the Council may confer upon them from time to time.
- To enjoy the courtesy title of “Honorary Alderman” and to be addressed as such.
Honorary Aldermen of Somerset Council
Somerset County Council
John Edney was a County Councillor for Cannington 2001 to 2017 and served as Chairman of Council and Chair of Standards Committee. He was honoured with the title of Honorary Alderman in February 2018.
Pat Martin was a District Councillor for Yeovil Ward in 2003 and was Vice-Chairman of Area South Committee for 4 years. Pat Martin was Consort to Ian Martin, the Chairman of South Somerset District Council 2007 to 2011. She was elected to Yeovil Town Council in 1987 until 2011 when she stepped down after 24 years. She was also Deputy Mayor of Yeovil 1993 to 1995 and Mayor of Yeovil 1995 to 1997. Pat was honoured with the title of Honorary Alderman in September 2011.
Patrick Palmer was elected to represent the Martock Ward on the Yeovil Rural District Council in 1967. Patrick became an independent Councillor when the existing Council became the Yeovil District Council in 1974, then later, South Somerset District Council. Patrick was also Chairman of Area North Committee 2003 to 2013, attaining 52 years of continuous council service. Patrick was honoured with the title of Honorary Alderman in May 2018.
Ruth Kendall was elected as a District Councillor for the Yeovil Preston Ward in 1987, serving for 24 years and was an active member of many committees, including Health, Leisure & Arts, Personnel sub-Committee, to name just a few.
Ruth Kendall was elected to the Yeovil Town Council in 1987 until 2003. She chaired various Committees, including the Yeovil Crematorium and Cemetery Joint Committee and served as Deputy Mayor for one-year 2002 to 2003. Ruth was honoured with the title of Honorary Alderman in September 2011.
Somerset West and Taunton
Tim Taylor was Leader of the Council for five years from 2010 to 2015 and was made an Honorary Alderman in September 2016 at a joint ceremony with Eddie May and Tony Knight, also from West Somerset. Tim Taylor’s father-in-law, Dennis Merson, had also previously been honoured with the title of Honorary Alderman.
Eddie May was first elected in 1991 to serve on both the Williton Parish Council and the West Somerset District Council. He Served on the Parish Council for 12 years including a period as Chairman (2008 to 2011), whilst remaining on the District Council for 24 years. He was made an Honorary Alderman in September 2016 at a joint ceremony with Tim Taylor and Tony Knight, also from West Somerset.
Tony Knight was elected at the last by-election for the Watchet Urban District Council in 1973, becoming Watchet’s youngest elected Councillor and remained a Councillor on the newly established Watchet Town Council for 27 years, including Chairman on six occasions. He was elected to West Somerset District Council in 2003, serving 12 years, of which seven were as Chair of Planning, coupled with being Chair of Council for 2011/12 and Vice-Chairman for 3 years. Tony was made an Honorary Alderman in September 2016 at a joint ceremony with Eddie May and Tim Taylor, also from West Somerset.