Councillor to leave politics after 20 years

JPCT 030315 S15080985x Horsham District councillors George Cockman, Steyning, councillor and Sheila Matthews, Henfield, are standing down at the 2015 elections -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150303-101511001
JPCT 030315 S15080985x Horsham District councillors George Cockman, Steyning, councillor and Sheila Matthews, Henfield, are standing down at the 2015 elections -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150303-101511001
  • Councillor for Steyning decides not to run at this year’s election
  • The former deputy head of Steyning Grammar School looks back
  • Mr Cockman spent 12 years on the scrutiny committee

A COUNCILLOR 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 for the Steyning and Ashurst wards, George Cockman, has decided not to stand for re-election in May.

Everything comes to an end and I’ve never regretted it

George Cockman

“Everything comes to an end and I’ve never regretted it,” said the 75-year-old.

“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 to 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 counted 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 Horsham District Council 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: “I would like to wish George and his wife Beulah well in the future.”