Mayoral office and town’s first car

I HAVE just read Councillor Maureen Charlesworth’s letter in last week’s Observer and can only agree wholeheartedly with her comments.

As the the last surviving member of the family that owned the first car registered in Hastings, DY1 a circa 1900 Argyll Voiturette, I felt I ought to add to the debate.

The original car was sold to Hollingsworth’s, they retained the number plate and it was I believe then transferred to their Ford model ‘T’ which I saw myself in their showrooms in Havelock Road. It was then loaned to the council for use on the mayoral vehicle and I was given to understand that a letter to that effect was in the mayoral or council safe. If the council seeks to get rid of the mayoral car the number plate should be returned to the Hollingsworth family.

If the council is considering getting rid of the mayor’s PA and the chauffeur is it able to give figures yet as to the cost of the inevitable hire of a consultancy firm to replace the PA and indeed of security officers to guard the mace and chain and the hire of a chauffer-driven car and security team while the mayor is being driven to appointments? Or is the suggestion that each new mayor be given security and specialist driver training?

Or better still, let’s sell the maces and chain and while we are at it halve the number of council wards, councillors and councillors’ pay. I am sure the mayor can be persuaded to shop in some of the many and varied charity shops that we have in the town for mayoral clothing rather than the correct mayoral attire.

This would of course necessitate a clothing allowance, then when our mayor turns up as the senior member of the Cinque Ports on a number 28 bus dressed in civvies with no chain everyone will be able to ignore him or her and this town.

Has it not occurred to the council that the mayor IS the advertising for this town and needs the trappings and assistance that the office demands? Should we throw away our heritage and history and present a shabby colourless face to those who might come here to shop, stay or – heaven forefend – spend money? Some might even go to the Jerwood Gallery if they can find it among the net sheds.


The Ridge