Oxford City Council will bestow one of the highest honours in its gift to three former councillors for their outstanding service and dedication to the people of Oxford.
Former councillors Christine Simm, John Tanner and Craig Simmons will be named Honorary Aldermen at a ceremony in Oxford Town Hall on Monday (29/11).
The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Mark Lygo, will present them with a framed certificate and a badge of office.
The Alderman is entitled to use the title of Honorary Alderman or Honorary Alderwomen as Oxford City Council, to wear the badge of Honorary Alderman and Honorary Alderwoman at all civic events and social events to which members of the Council are invited.
Christine was first elected to the City Council in May 1986 representing first Temple Cowley ward and then, from May 1990, St Clement’s ward. She chaired the Public Affairs Committee before retiring from the council in 1994.
In 2014 Christine was elected to represent the Cowley ward and served as a councillor for a further seven years, including as Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities from 2014 to 2017.
During her time as a councillor she held the office of Deputy Lord Mayor in 2017/2018.
Christine served on the City Council for a total of 15 years.
John was first elected to represent South ward in May 1988 and served as Leader of the City Council from October 1998 to May 2000. He chaired the Highways and Traffic Committee and the Strategy and Resources Committee in 1999/2000.
After a two year break in service, John was elected to represent Littlemore ward in May 2002, which he did for 19 years. During this time John served as portfolio holder for Performance and Service Quality; Environment; and Cleaner, Greener Oxford.
John held the office of Lord Mayor in 2007/2008 and Deputy Lord Mayor in 2002/2003.
John served on the City Council for a total of 31 years.
Craig was first elected to the City Council to represent St. Mary’s ward in May 2002. He became Leader of the Green Group in July 2004 and chaired the East Area Parliament from 2004 to 2008.
After a two year break in service, he was elected to represent St. Mary’s ward in May 2012. He chaired the Scrutiny Committee from 2014 to 2016 and Finance Panel from 2014 to 2017.
Craig held the office of Lord Mayor in 2019/2020, Deputy Lord Mayor in 2014/2015 and Sheriff in 2018/2019. His term as Lord Mayor was extended to 18 months during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Craig served on the City Council for a total of 17 years.
The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Mark Lygo, said: “It is an honour to present them with a certificate and a badge of office for their combined 63 years of service to our city.
“They have contributed so much to the work of the Council and the communities they represented, with enormous dedication and vast experience. Between them they held very senior roles on the Council, both civic and political leadership roles.”
Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of the Council, said: “This is one of the highest honours the City Council can bestow and we wanted to do this to recognise and thank all three of them for their hard work and dedication to this Council and the areas they served. I was personally sorry to see all three of them retire from the council at the last election and we miss their contributions.”
Christine Simm said “I am most grateful to be bestowed one of highest honours, the title of Alderman for my service and dedication as a former councillor of Oxford City Council.
“I would like to thank all of those people who have voted for me as their city councillor for so many years who have made this possible.”
John Tanner said “It’s a great honour to be made an honorary Alderman. Thank you Oxford City Council. But thank goodness it’s only honorary.
“I can remember when aldermen had a vote on the City Council. If a councillor was thrown out by the voters they could return through the back door; a bit like the House of Lords today.
“My advice to today’s councillors is seize the day, do it now. Individuals still can and do make a difference. The biggest honour is being elected to represent the citizens of Oxford.”
Craig Simmons said "I am proud to accept the honour of Alderman, I am doing so on behalf of the many public servants and volunteers who give up their time to help others."