Fringe Box



New Hon Freeman and Hon Aldermen Appointments Announced

Published on: 3 Aug, 2015
Updated on: 3 Aug, 2015
Celebrity gardener Chris Collins presents the Outstanding Achievement Award to Cllr  Jenny Powell

Celebrity gardener Chris Collins presents the Outstanding Achievement Award to Cllr Jenny Powell in 2014

The Borough of Guildford is to have a new honorary freeman and three new honorary aldermen.

Former Conservative councillor Jennifer Powell has been nominated to become only Guildford’s sixth freeman since the 1974 re-organisation of local government.

Mrs Powell, proud of her Welsh roots, was first elected to the Guildford Borough Council (GBC) in May 1987 representing the Clandon & Horsley ward, as she continued to do for her entire service as a councillor until she stepped down at the last election in May.

She was elected mayor in 2001-02, was a lead councillor between 2003 and 2013 for people and partnership, then culture and heritage and finally sport, leisure and culture. She was also a member of numerous committees, three of which she chaired.

Unlike aldermen, freemen do not have to be former councillors. The criteria is: “The person shall: be a person of distinction [and] have given eminent service to the borough.”

“Eminent service” can include: public service (including past distinguished service as a councillor or officer of the council); artistic and/or cultural endeavours; business, economic growth and prosperity; charitable work; improvement to the built and natural environment; political activities; religious and spiritual life; sporting activities.

They must also: “…have a strong and continuing connection with and commitment to the Borough of Guildford, or have made a major contribution to national life and in doing so have enhanced the reputation of the borough.”

Sarah Creedy

Sarah Creedy

The three former Conservative councillors that are to join the existing 16 honorary aldermen are: Sarah Creedy (formerly Holy Trinity ward); Terence Patrick (formerly Send ward) and Nick Sutcliffe (formerly Ash South & Tongham ward).

Sarah Creedy served 12 years as a councillor five of which were on the Executive as the lead member for housing and social welfare.

Terence Patrick

Terence Patrick

Terence Patrick also served 12 years as a councillor, he was on the Executive for a total of eight years as the lead councillor for healthy living and then rural economy. He also served as mayor in 2011-12.

Nick Sutcliffe served 16 years as a councillor, three of which were on the Executive as lead councillor for environmental services and then planning strategy and policy.

Last year there was some controversy when the council passed a resolution formalising a condition that hon aldermen should, once appointed, be apolitical in public.

Nick Sutcliffe

Nick Sutcliffe

The council protocol states: “In taking this role, the alderman becomes apolitical in public; knowing that any views expressed may be interpreted as views of the council. Aldermen are not to speak on behalf of the council in any way whatsoever… The council also expects honorary aldermen to refrain from making public statements which are critical of the council.”

One existing hon alderman is also a sitting councillor, Angela Gunning, (Lab, Stoke) but the new protocol makes it clear that, in future, any hon freeman or hon alderman who wishes to become active politically, by standing for election, would have the title withdrawn.


A ceremonial procession in Guildford High Street with Hon Freeman Andrew Hodges in the blue trimmed robe and behind him a group of hon aldermen in their scarlet robes and bicorn hats.

The new appointments have meant that an additional six bicorn hats, worn by male councillors and male honorary aldermen, will need to be purchased at an estimated cost of £1,560.

Additionally a “Scroll of Freedom” will cost in the region of £500 and there will be a civic dinner, costing £2,500, in honour of the new honorary freeman. Together the total cost of the new appointments will be £4,560.

During the recent council debate on these new appointments Cllr Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) said: “I look forward to their participation in council life, supporting the work we do from their new non-political positions.

“I would also like to say that I was rather disappointed… I see that we have to buy six new bicorn hats which to me signifies that we have too many men and not enough women in this council and I think we need to do something to address the fact that we must have more young women standing as councillors.”

See also: ‘You Won’t Gag Us Say Aldermen’ As New Protocol Is Revised and Opinion: Freedom of Speech Is Precious – But Nothing To Be Scared Of

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Responses to New Hon Freeman and Hon Aldermen Appointments Announced

  1. Dave Middleton Reply

    August 3, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Six hats at £260 each?

    I’m all for tradition and keeping the pomp and dignity of the office of alderman alive, but £260 for a hat that’s going to be worn maybe two or three times a year is preposterous in this time of local government funding cuts. Surely a cheaper version must be available? The cost of these six hats is more than my year’s council tax.

    Likewise, the scroll at £500 and the civic knees-up at £2,500 is all a bit much. Wouldn’t a pie and a pint at the Britannia, just down the road from the council offices be a lot cheaper?

  2. Terry Stevenson Reply

    August 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    I am sure it will make a milliner and scroll-maker happy. You never know, it might be the thing that keeps them off ‘skid row’ and results in them not claiming government benefits.

    Anyone would think local government spend does not go back into the economy.

  3. Shirley and Brian West Reply

    August 5, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    My congratulations to Jenny Powell and Terence Patrick on their new appointments. They have both worked very hard for Guildford and always supported my charity the British Heart Foundation and Castle Green Bowling Club.

    My thanks to them both and good luck.

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