Praise for George stepping down after 20 years on council

HOR060411 Local elections count at Christ's Hospital. George Cockman and Sheila Matthews. photo by derek martin ENGSNL00120110605175808
HOR060411 Local elections count at Christ's Hospital. George Cockman and Sheila Matthews. photo by derek martin ENGSNL00120110605175808

Steyning councillor George Cockman who has decided not to run at this year’s election has been commended by his colleagues for 20 years of service.

Independent Horsham District Councillor (HDC) for the Steyning wards, Mr Cockman, has decided he will not be contesting his seat in the May 2015 elections.

He said: “Everything comes to an end and I’ve never regretted doing it.

“I thought Steyning was poorly represented in the past.

“In the end my wife said ‘if you believe in it that much you should go for it’.”

Mr Cockman was first elected into the council in 1995.

Previously, he worked at Steyning Grammar School where he started out as head of RE in 1969, before he took on the role of deputy head in 1995.

“I was very much involved with the school in all sorts of ways – sports, drama and the school newspaper,” said Mr Cockman.

Although Mr Cockman stepped down as deputy head in the early 2000s, it was only last year that he ended his time as chaplain of the boarding school.

In 1999, Mr Cockman was included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list and received an MBE for his work in adult education.

In his political career, Mr Cockman has sat on the scrutiny committee for 12 years and was involved in the scheme to modernise the council from committees to cabinets.

“It’s been almost without exception very good company on the council and I shall miss the lot,” said Mr Cockman.

When asked about a return to politics, he said: “I might get a resurgence of energy but I have to count myself out of local politics now.

“If I start another four years I’ll be 80!”

Fellow Steyning and Ashurst district councillor, Sue Rogers, said: “It has been both a pleasure and privilege to work with George.”

Chairman of HDC Brian O’Connell said: “He cares passionately for his constituents and Horsham district and I have nothing but the greatest of respect for him.”

Steyning Parish Council chairman, Phil Bowell, said: “On behalf of all Steyning parish councillors and the residents of Steyning, I would like to wish George and his wife Beulah well in the future and hope they can concentrate on relaxing together without the stress of council life.”

Independent councillors will not contest seats at May 2015 election