The next Mayor of Worthing is pledging to support people in our communities who can often be forgotten or unheard.
Councillor Hazel Thorpe has put on the Borough’s century-old robes and chain for the first time (17th May 2019) when she was appointed to the post at Worthing Borough Council’s annual meeting.
In the next 12 months, the avid gardener and theatre fan will be the town’s first citizen, attending hundreds of events and supporting three local charities.
After putting on the mayoral robes for the first time, Cllr Thorpe will be looking forward to the mayor’s inaugural dinner on June 1st.
She will be accompanied throughout the year by her husband Robin. They recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary.
Cllr Thorpe’s Deputy Mayor will be Councillor Lionel Harman, who lives in Worthing and represents Castle ward.
She succeeds Councillor Paul Baker. In the last year, Cllr Baker raised £15,000 for his chosen local charities – Guild Care Haviland House dementia care home; Ferring Country Centre; and Love Your Hospital.
Read the Q&A below to find out more about the new mayor Hazel Thorpe:
What is your background?
My background is in engineering, I later became a teacher, and then I was asked to become a Councillor in 2000.
What are your interests away from being a Councillor?
Theatre, I really love live theatre, and I have performed in Am Dram years ago. I am very interested in anything to do with handicrafts, I knit, I used to do printing, all sorts of things like that. I love reading and most of all I really love looking after my garden. I’ve got a husband and family and I like to spend a lot of time with them. Anything that’s active I like.
Why did you become a Councillor?
“I became a Councillor, partly because I was asked to, partly because there was an issue in my village in Tarring that needed the residents to speak out for, and I have always been one to speak up for people who need a bit of extra help.”
What are your priorities for the coming year as Mayor?
“My priorities as I enter the mayoralty is to put the town of Worthing on the map, and I intend to do it via the music and art, and to some extent the environment, but focusing on the people, because there are a lot of people behind the scenes who don’t get any recognition or who don’t seem to be valued, but I value them.”
Which charities will you be supporting as Mayor?
“I will be supporting Care For Veterans, they are celebrating 100 years’ service for families of people who’ve come back from wars rather differently, they actually cover a lot of things including rehabilitation. My second charity is the NSPCC and that’s the local district and that’s to help young people speak out against cyber bullying. My third charity is Coastal West Sussex Mind for families, because I think the families of people with mental health issues need a bit of extra help and support. I will be organising events, and we’ve got one on June 1st which is my inaugural dinner which is really the launch of my mayoralty and that will be at The Ardington.
What are your three favourite things about Worthing?
“My three favourite things about Worthing are the pier, particularly the windows that show off the amazing things that we have done, the theatres, I love going to theatres and concerts, and I also think the food here is very good too. “