Multi-talented Cllr Hazel Thorpe is Mayor of Worthing, Vice President of Worthing Lions and,
when she finishes her mayoralty, will become President of Worthing Lions. We talked to
her about bus routes, Keith Emerson and Elvis.
The story starts in Shoreham: friends here looked after my daughters while I went to summer school during my first
OU degree. Robin and I have been in Tarring now for 25 years. We set up the Residents’ Association in 1999, our
friends are our neighbours and it’s an amazing community. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
WHICH BOOK CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. It gave me enough courage to do what I wanted and not
let things stop me. From that I was able, with a bit of help from a friend, to complete my first degree, go on to
my master’s, become a politician and change my life.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN GROWING UP?
I wanted to be an architect, because when I was a teenager I spent many hours drawing at home. I ended up
being an engineering draughtswoman in London and was one of the first women on the track. I was brought up with the
idea that you are in a man’s world, so you have to strive to be so much better.
I enjoyed the fact that I was only 17 and I was in charge of this group of men!
Then I moved up the scale to become a cartographical draughtswoman and used to draw the ‘You Are Here’ maps
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE MAYOR?
One of the things I’ve found really helpful about being Mayor is that you have the ability and resources to make
things happen. I am really proud that we are going to have a blue plaque on the Assembly Hall for Keith Emerson; it’s a real Worthing story.
Another thing that I am really pleased about is that I co-host a children’s eco group called Youth Eco Ambassadors
with Leslie Groves Williams from Shoreham. We’ve enabled the children to challenge Adur and Worthing council
officers on what they are doing to help the environment. They make their own notes, run the meeting and take back
what they have learnt to their schools.
WHAT SINGLE THING WOULD YOU DO TO IMPROVE WORTHING?
I would like to see a better bus network, so that people in my area can get into town at the weekend and enjoy all the lovely activities that have sprung up.
We only have one bus an hour on a Sunday, and it doesn’t even touch the lower part of Tarring.
WHO WOULD YOU INVITE TO RAVE WITH YOU ON WORTHING BEACH?
I had a really good time at my last Variety Show with Suspiciously Elvis so I’ll have a rave with Elvis! He’s funny
and does a lot of work for Mind.
WHAT WOULD YOU DONATE TO WORTHING MUSEUM?
I have a long velvet green coat which I bought it in the 1970s, I love it, it reflected a very happy time in my life.
IF YOU COULD BRING SOMETHING EXTINCT BACK TO LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
The Post Office.
WHAT EVENT DID YOU LAST PAY TO GO TO IN WORTHING?
I had a fantastic time with my charity team at a Debbie Stevens Wellbeing Girls Night Out at the Ardington Hotel.
We had a pampering session, good food and drink, and fitted ourselves out for the next leg of raising money for
Worthing. The Ardington Hotel is one of the many generous sponsors of my Mayoral fundraising events and I’d like
to take the opportunity to acknowledge all sponsors past and present in my Mayoral year.”