Seven former county councillors have been elected as Honorary Aldermen, with six of them attending KCC’s council meeting at County Hall on Thursday (7 December) to be presented with special scrolls by KCC Chairman David Brazier.
KCC decided in 2009 to recognise the services of some of its distinguished former members.
The county council agreed that the award should only be made to former members who had served at least 12 years and had rendered eminent service in terms of the individual’s contribution to the activities of the county council and the well-being of the county of Kent.
Tom Gates was elected to the county council in May 1993 as the Conservative Member for Faversham. A retired local builder, he served as a town councillor from 1992 and was the Mayor of Faversham from 2001 to 2003. He served as Chairman of the county council in 2016/17.
Mike Harrison was elected in November 1997 as the Conservative Member for Whitstable East. He retired from British Airways with the rank of Senior Cabin Service Director. Mr Harrison served as Chairman of the County Council in 2015/16.
Leyland Ridings, MBE, was elected in 1997 as the Conservative Member for Sandwich. Born in Australia, he served with the Royal Australian Air Force and then trained as a Chartered Accountant. He came to England in 1964 and has lived in East Kent since 1984. Mr Ridings served as Chairman of the County Council in 2006/07.
James Scholes was elected to the county council in 1993 as the Conservative Member for Tunbridge Wells South. He was a software house manager with extensive experience in computers and was a member of the Stock Exchange. Mr Scholes also served as a borough councillor from 1976 as the Member of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for the Pantiles and St Mark’s Ward. He was the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells in 1991/92 and Leader of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council from 1998 – 2002.
Derek Smyth was elected to the county council in July 1998 as the Labour Member for Ashford South until 2009 and was re-elected in 2013. He was an Administration Manager, European Division at Courage Ltd.
Martin Vye was elected in 1989 as the Liberal Democrat Member for Canterbury City South West. He is a retired schoolmaster and housemaster, and a former Major in the Combined Cadet Force. He was a Canterbury City Councillor for Barham Downs Ward from 1995 to 2011 and Lord Mayor of Canterbury in 2004/5.
Alex King, MBE, was the new Honorary Alderman who was unable to attend the ceremony. He was elected to the county council in May 1989 as the Conservative Member for Tunbridge Wells Rural. He had a career as a management consultant specialising in Human Resources, General Management and Organisation and Business Development issues. Mr King was Deputy Leader of the County Council from 2005 to 2013.