Two long-standing figures on Wirral Council were presented with civic honours on Tuesday evening (24 October).
At an extraordinary full Council meeting on 10 July 2023, members voted unanimously to accept the recommendation that former councillors Dave Mitchell and Tony Smith should be conferred the title of Honorary Aldermen in recognition of their many years of public service.
Former Councillor Tony Smith was a Member of the Council from May 1995, representing Bebington Ward as Labour Party Member and subsequently served as the Member for Upton Ward from 2004 until May 2023.
Tony first served as Civic Mayor of Wirral in the 2019/20 municipal year, which was extended to 2020/21 in response to the COVID pandemic. A former teacher and educational psychologist, Tony served as cabinet member for Social Inclusion and Children’s Services during his time on Wirral Council.
Former Councillor Dave Mitchell was a Member of the Council from May 1983 until May 2023, representing Eastham Ward as a Liberal Democrat. He also served as Civic Mayor in the 2013/14 municipal year. Dave has also served as Chair of the Planning Committee and as Cabinet member for Highways and Transportation. Other positions he has held include as a member of the Mersey Port Health Authority and the Merseytravel Committee.
The law states that nominees for the award must be a person of distinction and/or someone who has, in its opinion, rendered eminent service to the place or area. In addition, Wirral Council has determined that former Members should serve twenty years on the Council (or a predecessor Council) to be eligible for nomination.
In tabling the recommendation in favour, the Chair of the Regulatory and General Purposes Committee, Cllr Andrew Hodson, and seconded by Cllr Stephen Bennett, outlined why they felt Dave and Tony were deserving of the honour.
Several Councillors made speeches about the two former Councillors and their service as Civic Mayor. Members spoke of the 40 years of continuous service that Dave had given, and his extensive knowledge and dedication to the Licensing process.
Members also recalled Tony’s service as a retired teacher and educational psychologist, giving him the requisite skills to serve as cabinet member for Children’s Services. His service as Civic Mayor for two continuous municipal years was also cited as unique in the history of the Wirral council.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Phil Gilchrist, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Wirral Council, said, “We all stand in awe at their service and the way they managed to work and serve the community to the extent they did.”
Image: (L-R) Alderman Dave Mitchell, Mayor Jerry Williams and Alderman Tony Smith