Bognor Regis stalwart stays at the helm for county

One of the Bognor Regis area’s county councillors has spoken of his delight in continuing to create history as an ambassador for West Sussex.

Conservative member Mike Coleman, who represents the Nyetimber ward, was chosen for a second year as the chairman of West Sussex County Council.

The honour has arisen after his initial 12 months in the role.

He believes he is the council’s first chairman since the authority was founded in 1889 whose wife – Christina Coleman (Conservative, Middleton) – is also a county councillor.

“The first county councillors were all members of the landed gentry,” he said. “The composition of the council since then has certainly changed with the times.”

One aspect that has stayed the same is the role of the chairman.Cllr Coleman will act as the council’s figurehead at the forthcoming visit to the Chichester area by the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

“I represent the people of the county on occasions such as these alongside the Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff. It’s a great honour and a privilege. There are nearly 800,000 people in West Sussex and I’ve been chosen to represent them,” he said.

Cllr Coleman attended more than 200 functions in his initial year, meeting those whose work, as he puts it, help to make West Sussex the county it is today.

That includes the twice-yearly charter meetings where the smaller charities meet each other to share experiences and tips and seek help.

Cllr Coleman also oversaw the citizenship ceremonies every two to three weeks of 20-30 people a time which help people become British citizens. There was the leadership of the council’s governance committee, which oversees changes to its running, as well. Added to this is the chairmanship of the standards committee which he will assume.

He was elected as a Conservative member of the county council 11 years ago. He has his usual business of dealing with residents’ complaints and demands on top of his chairman’s role.

Before he became a county councillor, he was an Arun district councillor for Aldwick West for four years and a member of Aldwick Parish Council, where he was vice-chairman.