A Chairman’s badge dating back 38 years and belonging to the first Civic Head of Arun has been returned to the Council - after it was bought at a car boot sale.
The ceremonial badge, worn by Councillor Leslie Walwin from 1973 to 1975 when Arun District Council was first created, was purchased for £3.50 at Ford Car Boot sale after it was discovered by one of the authority’s new district Councillors, John Charles.
Inscribed with the words ‘Chairman’s Badge, Arun District Council’, it was found in its original box but bears no resemblance to the current civic regalia and its origins were a mystery.
Cllr Charles, elected to Barnham ward in May, said: “I saw the red box and thought its contents may be interesting. I could not believe my eyes when I saw what it was. I purchased it and brought it back to the Council and am so pleased that its history has been traced and it is now in its rightful place.”
Cllr Charles handed the badge to Council Chief Executive Ian Sumnall who traced its history back through the Council archives.
His research uncovered some of the first ever minutes produced at the new authority.
Ian found committee papers referring to the then Chairman, Cllr Walwin, purchasing his own badge for his term of office and subsequently discovered official black and white pictures of the district’s new first citizen wearing the badge, pictured above
Ian said: “It’s incredible that after all this time the first ever Chairman’s badge, one we never even knew existed, should find its way back to the authority via a car boot sale.”
The humble badge is made of lead and its monetary value is not thought to be great.
By comparison the current civic chains are elaborate and gold plated.
It’s not known how the badge ended up at the car boot sale but it has been given to Arun’s current Chairman Cllr Dennis Wilde, pictured right.