The news that Worthing Town Centre Initiative chairman Chris Spratt is standing down after 25 years in the position is a doubled-edged sword for the town.
Stepping down should give Chris a quieter life – thoroughly deserved after being in the role since the group’s inception in 1993.
Without Chris and the Town Centre Initiative there would have been no Birdman. It was a landmark event for the town and is much-missed, but it had ultimately had its day and had become not economically viable.
Then there is the now-annual arrival of the ice rink, the town centre flowers, markets and several other initiatives, which all represent superb progress over the last quarter of a century.
As I said, with a list of achievements like that, ‘retirement’ for Chris is thoroughly deserved, although please note the inverted commas, as in my opinion he’s not the retiring type!
On the flip side, moving forward he will be an extremely hard act to follow, and the Town Centre Initiative needs to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of Chris’s successor.
As a lifelong Worthingite I would like to thank Chris for everything he’s done for the town.
I have always been of the opinion that had we as a town gone down the route of an elected mayor, he would have ticked all the boxes and been an ideal candidate, and would have done an excellent job in the position and definitely taken the town in the right direction.
On a personal note, I will never forget the invaluable help and advice he gave me when I embarked on my own business career.
But this is now a case of ‘the king is dead, long live the king’ – or queen, of course – so there will be somebody out there with the comparable drive and qualities needed to take Worthing forward.
It’s just up to the Town Centre Initiative hierarchy to find him/her and get them in the post ASAP.
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