‘FEARLESS’, ‘irreplaceable’ and a ‘champion of the underdog’ were among the tributes to a veteran councillor who announced her retirement on Saturday.
Marine ward councillor of 16 years, Liza McKinney, publicly announced her intention to step down at a packed Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association annual general meeting.
The association has selected its chairman, Joss Loader, to contest her seat in May.
Mrs Loader said: “She will be an impossible act to follow. She may be short in stature but she is one of life’s giants.”
Mrs McKinney, an Independent councillor, privately told the association of her decision in April last year.
As an active community volunteer, she will remain involved with various projects, including her work with the Marlipins museum and as a trustee of the Shoreham Centre.
During her time on the council, she has chaired the joint overview and scrutiny committee and was twice chairman. As part of the latter role, among her highlights was visiting local schools.
She advised those at the AGM to ‘ignore our young people at our peril’.
Announcing her retirement, she said: “ I have been your councillor since May 2000 and in that time we have had some strange moments and difficult times and we have had some good times.
“A councillor’s life is quite interesting because I have been called out four times this year after midnight, basically dealing with noise and people who are being rather loud in the midst of you all.
“It is not nine-to-five. We are there on call 24 hours a day and we are there to represent you.”
Other tributes at the AGM came from East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton and fellow Marine ward councillor Ben Stride.
Mr Stride said: “She has shown me the ropes and supported me all the way through. It will be a sad loss. You are irreplaceable.”
Presenting Mrs McKinney with a range of presents, including a picture of her ‘beloved’ toll bridge, Mrs Loader said: “Passionate, committed, hardworking. Fearless. Champion of the underdog.
“Not scared to take on authority, not scared to disagree with people but always seeking to do the right thing.
“That is exactly what we want as an Independent councillor.”