The three – former Leader Tim Taylor, council chairman Eddie May and planning committee chair Tony Knight – had notched up 44 years of service to the community between them.
The honour is rarely bestowed and current Chairman Cllr Bruce Heywood said: “It’s a colossal achievement to give 44 years unstinting service to this council and the people we serve.
He said Eddie May had been a councillor, representing Williton, for 24 years and chaired the council through three challenging years from 2008-2011.
“He is a true countryman, down to earth and pragmatic and so easy to get on with. He has been very much the people’s person and loved by all in the community.”
Tony Knight served as a councillor for Watchet for 12 years – and chaired the planning committee for seven years. “He was the doyen of planning,” said Cllr Heywood. “His skills were marked by local knowledge and his integrity.”
Tim Taylor was Leader of the Council for five years from 2010 until standing down from the authority at last year’s local election. Cllr Heywood said that he had “thrown himself into serving the council and the wider community. He made a huge contribution to this council and to West Somerset.”
A number of councillors also stood to pay tribute to the three, thanking them for their integrity, leadership and advice.
Deputy Leader Cllr Mandy Chilcott said the three had been “exemplary” councillors, adding: “We owe a huge thanks to them all.”
The new honorary Aldermen thanked the council for the award. Eddie May recalled opening the new offices in Killick Way, Williton, and said during his years as a councillor had made good friends, adding: “I hope I have helped some of my constituents during my time as a councillor.”
Tony Knight said it was essential to treat people with respect to gain their trust and confidence while Tim Taylor said it was an honour to be made an Alderman and to follow in the footsteps of his late father-in-law Dennis Merson, who was also honoured with the title.
The Alderman system was one of the traditional features of local government in England before a radical overhaul in 1974. Before the changes were introduced Aldermen served a six-year term and had full voting rights on their council.
After reorganisation, the role of Honorary Alderman was introduced to recognise those who had “rendered eminent service” to their authority but were no longer elected members.
Photo: L-R Eddie May, Tim Taylor, Cllr Bruce Heywood and Tony Knight
Contact: Debbie Rundle, on behalf of West Somerset Council,01984 635280 or 01823 356407 or 07714 759899 email email@example.com