Proud to receive honour

Arthur Preece
Arthur Preece

A FORMER councillor set to be recognised by civic chiefs has spoken of his pride ahead of accepting a top honour.

Arthur Preece, who served as a councillor for 24 years in Hartlepool, will be given the title of Honorary Alderman by Hartlepool Borough Council at a ceremony next week.

The 84-year-old will be recognised for his dedication and commitment to serving communities in town since he was first elected as a councillor back in 1988.

Mr Preece, of Spalding Road, represented the Fens ward continuously until May this year, when he missed out on being re-elected.

He will be honoured at a special ceremony at a full council meeting on Thursday night.

Mr Preece said: “It is very nice to be honoured in this way and I am delighted to accept this honour.

“I had nothing to do with initiating this but I will be very proud to receive it.

“I was a councillor for 24 years and elected a total of nine times, including my time as a county councillor.

“I have been involved with the local authority for a very long time and obviously I am very happy to keep a connection in this way.”

His political career began in 1973 when he joined the Liberal Party and he went on to become chairman of the Northern Liberal Party from 1982-84, where he was involved in re-establishing a Liberal organisation in Hartlepool.

Mr Preece, who moved to town in 1987, stood as a parliamentary candidate for Hartlepool in 1987 and for South Shields in 1992.

Elected as a Liberal Democrat borough councillor for the Fens Ward in 1988, he then became a Cleveland County Councillor the following year until 1996, when Hartlepool became a unitary authority.

The retired hospital administrator, was also council leader from 2000-2002 and is a governor at Fens Primary School.

Mr Preece will be given the honour at a special ceremony on Thursday, October 4 in the council chamber at the Civic Centre, at 7pm.

Born in Sheffield in 1928, Mr Preece began his working life with a firm of civil engineering contractors before joining the Royal Engineers.

In 1954 Mr Preece began a long and distinguished career in the National Health Service and he qualified as a chartered secretary and hospital administrator, where he specialised in managing major capital development projects.

Mr Preece was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours of 1988 in recognition of his contribution to the NHS.

He stood in the new Fens & Rossmere ward in May but missed out to Putting Hartlepool First candidates Steve Gibbon, Alison Lilley and Geoff Lilley.