Alderman honour for councillor devoted to serving community

Ottery town councillor Roger Giles

Ottery town councillor Roger Giles has been made an honorary alderman of Devon County Council - Credit: Terry Ife

Ottery town councillor Roger Giles has been made an honorary alderman of Devon County Council in recognition of his ‘extraordinary service’ as a former county and district councillor. 

Cllr Giles represented the Ottery Rural ward on the county council for a decade, from 1993 until 2013, and was an East Devon District councillor for 24 years, between 1995 and 2019. 

He was among 10 former county councillors honoured in a ceremony at Sandy Park on Thursday, October 7; the others were John Mathews, Polly Colthorpe, Caroline Chugg, Barry Parsons, Richard Edgell, Nick Way, Gordon Hook, Stuart Barker and John Clatworthy. 

The position of alderman is a ceremonial honour that does not entitle holders to special privileges, but it does mean they can attend civic functions and council meetings, although they cannot vote.  

The leader of the county council, Cllr John Hart, said they had all carried out ‘extraordinary service for Devon’. 

He said: “I sincerely thank you for the work that you’ve all done over the years to make Devon county one of the best counties in the country as far as I’m concerned, if not the best. In fact, I’ve always said we are the best in the West.”  

Opposition leader Cllr Alan Connett said the honour was a ‘richly deserved reward for their many years of service’ which amounted to about 145 years.  

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He said: “I think it’s a universal truth that no one became a councillor for the riches, rewards, fame and recognition that others have in other walks of life.  

“Actually, it’s hard work, it’s supporting communities, it’s supporting people and while some things get publicised … so much more is done by a tweak here, a tweak there, helping a resident, sorting out a community group, those things that never make a focus newsletter, leaflet or letter in a newspaper.”  

“All of the aldermen today have given exemplary service and richly deserve both their retirement and the award that we’re giving today.”  

The council chairman, Councillor Jeffrey Trail, presented the former members, except for Polly Colthorpe who was unable to attend, with a commemorative scroll and badge. 

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