All Saints Church in Sidley played host to the Charter Trustees of Bexhill Civic Service for the first time since 2001.
The Charter Trust was formed in 1974, after Bexhill Borough Council merged with Rye Corporation and Battle Rural District Council to create Rother District Council.
The Bexhill district councillors are also the Charter Trustees, but in their role as Trustees they are non-political, and they continue the tradition of mayor making in a purely ceremonial capacity.
Bedecked in their fine civic regalia, the Charter Trustees processed into the church for the service, which was lead by the Revd. Michael Bailey.
In the congregation were visiting mayors and deputies from neighbouring towns.
Councillor Maurice Watson, this year’s Mayor for Bexhill, had requested that the civic service be held in All Saints Sidley, in the area for which he is a councillor.
The first lesson in the service, from Exodus, was read by the Mayor. The story of bread from heaven for the migrant people in the desert could be seen as a command to make good use of the gifts that the earth supplies.
The second lesson from Ephesians was read by the Deputy Mayor Cllr. Simon El
The Mayoress Mrs Ann Watson chose two of the hymns ‘O Jesus I have promised’ and ‘Guide me, O thou great Redeemer’. Both hymns are a reminder of the commitment needed to travel a sometimes difficult path.
Cllr Watson, once himself a Scout leader, has chosen for his Mayor’s charity to continue fundraising for the Bexhill Scouts, who are developing facilities in Kiteye Woods.
The Bexhill Charter Trustees comprise of all 18 Rother District Councillors who represent the wards in Bexhill, once elected to Rother, they automatically become a Charter Trustee.
There are currently only 12 Charter Trustee bodies in England and Wales.
he role of the Trustees is purely ceremonial, they elect a Mayor and Deputy Mayor each May, and safeguard the traditions of the former Borough of Bexhill. They maintain the civic regalia and the “Town Plate”, which is a collection of gifts and artefacts that were donated to the Town during its days as a Borough.
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