Tributes paid to two former Brighton and Hove mayors

Posted On 22 Oct 2015 at 5:38 pm

Two former mayors of were remembered at a meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council this afternoon (Thursday 22 October).

A long-serving councillor and former mayor of Brighton, Gill Sweeting, died at the age of 72 of pancreatic cancer at the Martlets Hospice in Hove at the start of the month.

Less than a fortnight later John Broadley, 85, a former leader of the old Hove Borough Council and former mayor of Hove, died.

His funeral is due to take place just yards from Hove Town Hall, at the Sacred Heart Church, in Norton Road, Hove, at 11am on Friday 30 October.

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The mayor of Brighton and Hove Lynda Hyde shared the news of their deaths when the council met at the Brighton Centre this afternoon.

A minute’s silence was held in their memory.

When Mrs Sweeting was mayor in 1992-93 she had the job of welcoming the annual Conservative Party conference to the Brighton Centre.

Like her fellow Labour councillor Pat Hawkes four years earlier, she opted to give a political speech rather than extend a traditional civic welcome.

She was jeered as she invited the Conservative Prime Minister John Major to visit the town’s hostels and bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) to see the extent of homelessness.

She said: “You will not see a nation at ease with itself nor will you see the classless society which the Prime Minister has said he wishes to create.

“In the south east of England … we have felt the recession in every home, in every workplace, in every office and in every high street store and corner shop.

“Underneath Brighton’s piers every night and in shop doorways you can see people sleeping rough.”

Among those who criticised her in the debate that followed was a novice Basildon councillor Mark Francois, then 27 years old. He is now the MP for Rayleigh and Wickford and Minister of State for Communities and Resilience.

The party chairman Sir Norman Fowler sarcastically thanked Councillor Sweeting “for warming up this conference so successfully”.

It proved to be the last time the Tories chose Brighton as the venue for their conference.

One of her fellow former councillors, Andy Winter, who now runs Brighton Housing Trust (BHT), paid tribute to her earlier this year as she campaigned for assisted dying to be legalised.

Mr Winter said that she had been supportive and encouraging and described her as a formidable colleague and incredibly hard working.

To read his tribute, click here.

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