Stalwarts of Somerset’s former councils were reunited at a ceremony in Taunton to mark their years of service to the community.
Chair of Somerset Council, Cllr Mike Best, presented the Aldermen with certificates and medals at a ceremonial afternoon tea.
The title of Alderman is the highest award that can be made to a former Councillor in recognition of their exceptional service to their community.
Cllr Best said:
The combined years of service by our Aldermen is truly remarkable, as are the people who accepted the honour when it was bestowed by their respective councils.
Those councils may now be in the past but their achievements are very much still with us and provided the foundation for Somerset Council. I am delighted to be able to meet these remarkable people, pay tribute to them for their service and bring them all together into the Somerset Council organisation.
He told the recipients that Somerset Council has set up a web page focusing on Honorary Aldermen and their role: Honorary Aldermen of Somerset Council
Those receiving awards were:
Somerset County Council – John Edney who was a County Councillor for Cannington 2001 – 2017 and served as Chair of Council and Chair of the Standards Committee. John Edney was honoured with the title of Honorary Alderman in February 2018.
West Somerset Council – Tim Taylor who was Leader of the Council for five years from 2010 – 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 served on the Council, representing the Williton Ward for 24 years and was Chair of Council for three years between 2008 – 2011. Eddie May was made an Honorary Alderman in September 2016 at a joint ceremony with Tim Taylor and Tony Knight, also from West Somerset.
Tony Knight served on the Council, representing the Watchet Ward for 12 years and was Chair of Planning Committee for seven years. Tony Knight was made an Honorary Alderman in September 2016 at a joint ceremony with Eddie May and Tim Taylor, also from West Somerset.
South Somerset District Council – Pat Martin was a District Councillor for Yeovil Ward in 2003 and was Vice-Chair of Area South Committee for four years. Pat Martin was Consort to Ian Martin, the Chair of South Somerset District Council 2007 – 2011. Pat Martin 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 – 1995 and Mayor of Yeovil 1995 – 1997. Pat Martin was honoured with the title of Honorary Alderman in September 2011.
Patrick Palmer represented Martock Ward as a Parish Councillor in 1967. He became an independent Councillor for Yeovil District Council in 1974. Patrick Palmer was also Chair of Area North Committee 2003 – 2013 and 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.
She was elected to the Yeovil Town Council in 1987 until 2003. Ruth Kendall chaired various Committees, including the Yeovil Crematorium and Cemetery Joint Committee and served as Deputy Mayor for one-year 2002 – 2003. Ruth was honoured with the title of Honorary Alderman in September 2011.
She was unable to attend the event so Cllr Best plans to make a personal visit to present her with the award and certificate.
Pictured (left to right) are: John Edney (Somerset County Council); Patrick Palmer (South Somerset District Council – SSDC); Tim Taylor (West Somerset Council – WSC); Mike Best – Chair Somerset Council; Pat Martin (SSDC); Eddie May (WSC); Tony Knight (WSC).