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  • The Rother Alliance

Long serving Councillor awarded MBE

On Saturday 10th October Deputy Leader of the Council and member of the Rother Alliance and Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Susan Myfanwy Prochak received the news that she had been included on the Queen's birthday honours list for 2020.

Councillor Prochak, known to most as Sue, is now a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) having been recognised for her dedicated service to the community in Robertsbridge.

Sue was first elected as a Liberal Democrat member of Rother District Council for Salehurst and Robertsbridge at a by-election in July 1989, following the death of a long- standing Conservative councillor.

Sue's service has continued through many administrations, including serving as Leader of the Council during the minority Liberal Democrat administration in the 1990s, and since the May 2019 election Sue has played a key role within the Rother Alliance as Deputy Leader of the Council - bringing an incredible knowledge and experience to help with the Alliance's ambitious changes and improvements.

As well as being Deputy Leader, Cllr Prochak also plays a key role within the Alliance as Vice Chair of Planning, instituting some of the Alliance's ongoing planning committee reforms and as a member of the Climate Emergency Steering Group, helping develop the Council's 2020-2030 Environmental Strategy.

Leader of the Council and Independent Group within the Rother Alliance, Cllr Doug Oliver said,

"This is truly deserved recognition for Sue's tireless, passionate commitment to her work within Robertsbridge in addition to her vast experience on Rother District Council. I am honoured to know Sue as a friend and colleague who continues to provide me with many words of wisdom and guidance. I am so delighted that Sue has been recognised for her selfless dedication to her role as a Councillor. Sue is someone to whom other councillors should aspire to emulate."

Sue has been a prominent member of the local community over the last thirty or so years in a variety of different activities and roles. From being a long-term governor at Robertsbridge Community College, serving as Chair of Governors for a number of years, to being the driving force behind the outstanding local pre-school, Robertsbridge Children’s Services - acquiring its new dedicated premises in 2007 as Chair of Charity Trustees. Sue also helped set up the successful Robertsbridge Arts Partnership in 2000 which has since delighted many an audience with fantastic local performances. Sue is also a Trustee, patron and huge supporter of the De La Warr Pavilion.

In 2013, Sue helped set up and now co-chairs the very successful Helping Hands community friends organisation in Robertsbridge. Helping Hands has been a vital resource for the local community during the recent pandemic.

To date, Sue has served for twenty years on the Romney Marsh Internal Drainage Board, having been appointed after the disastrous flood of 2000, which dramatically afflicted Robertsbridge. At the time, Sue campaigned vigorously with Ministers for flood defences for the village to ensure they were one of the first to be completed.

Cllr Kevin Dixon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat and Green Group within the Rother Alliance said,

"Having represented Robertsbridge since the late 80s, Sue has experienced many highs and lows in her political career, from highs in leading the Council in the 1990s, to the lowest when she was one of just two Liberal Democrats in 2015. However, as current Deputy Leader of Rother District Council she has brought her experience and Liberal enthusiasm to shape not only the Council but the whole District in these challenging times. If the rest of us achieve just half of what Sue has, we will have done well! The Lib Dem group are all delighted that Sue's dedication has been recognised."

Commenting on receiving the prestigious recognition, Sue said,

"‘It is such an honour for me to be awarded an MBE. It is also an honour for the very special parish of Robertsbridge and Salehurst. I have so many stories about the kindness and generosity of our residents. This has recently been underlined so much during the current pandemic.

I could not have achieved half of what I have been involved in, without the support of residents, our Parish Council and officers at Rother District Council, the latter always answering questions and solving problems so efficiently. I also have to thank my husband, Stephen, who gives me such wonderful support.’"

Leader of the Labour Group within the Rother Alliance, Cllr Christine Bayliss said,

"This is a long overdue award for exemplary public service. Sue works tirelessly for Robertsbridge and residents in her ward and has made a significant contribution to setting up the Rother Alliance."

Rother Alliance members from across the different political groups have expressed their congratulations to Cllr Prochak MBE for her much deserved recognition from the Queen.

In the interest of Council-wide cooperation, the leader of the Conservative Group on Rother District Council has been approached to add their congratulations. As yet, none have been received.

Sue joins Conservative Councillor John Barnes, who received an MBE in 2017, in a hopefully growing group of MBE recipients serving on Rother District Council.

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