Theme for new Worthing mayor ‘will be promoting people’

New Worthing mayor Hazel Thorpe
New Worthing mayor Hazel Thorpe

There was pomp a-plenty as Worthing’s new mayor donned her chains of office.

Hazel Thorpe took over from Paul Baker at a packed town hall meeting on Friday, with Lionel Harman named as her deputy.

New mayor of Worthing Hazel Thorpe and her husband Robin

New mayor of Worthing Hazel Thorpe and her husband Robin

Looking back on his year as mayor, Mr Baker picked Remembrance Sunday as his highlight.

He said: “To be the mayor celebrating the 100th anniversary of the armistice was a moving experience.

“Four thousand people gathered outside the town hall to  celebrate and remember the brave people that lost their lives and fought for our freedom.

“It makes you feel quite a small part of society when you reflect on that.”

Over the past year, Mr Baker raised £15,000 for his chosen charities – Guild Care Haviland House, Ferring Country Centre, and Love Your Hospital.

After donning the heavy red robes and being led back into the chamber by the mace bearer, Mrs Thorpe took control of the meeting.

She said: “I feel very blessed and pleased to accept the privilege of being able to positively influence the future of our great town, and aim to be an expression of social cohesion, bringing people together.

“People really matter. My theme will be promoting people.”

New deputy mayor Lionel Harman

New deputy mayor Lionel Harman

Mrs Thorpe chose to support three local charities – Care for Veterans, NSPCC Worthing & Goring, and Lancing District & Coastal West Sussex MIND.

While handing over the reins to Mrs Thorpe, Mr Baker made a point of praising the young people of Worthing, saying the future of the town was in ‘safe hands’.

Those safe hands were represented by Jimi Taylor who was named youth mayor.

His deputy, Will Nyss, was unable to attend because he was sitting an exam.

Addressing the meeting, Jimi said he was really looking forward to the year ahead.

He added: “We can’t forget how important youth is. Youth is so important to Worthing – we are the future – and we can’t be belittled by anyone.”

The meeting also saw Conservative Daniel Humphreys voted in as leader of the council again – though the entire opposition abstained from voting.