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Hawkhurst Parish council chairman Keith Brown retires after ‘tremendous’ years of service

By Alan Smith
Long-serving magistrate Keith Brown
Long-serving magistrate Keith Brown

The chairman of Hawkhurst Parish Council is to stand down at the annual meeting in May.

Keith Brown has been a prominent figure in the village for decades and a councillor for 22 years.

He also represented Hawkhurst as a borough councillor in Tunbridge Wells between 1994 and 1998 and stood as the Liberal Democrat candidate at the General Elections for Tonbridge and Malling in 1997 and for Tunbridge Wells in 2001, coming second behind Archie Norman.

He has been active in youth work in the village, helping to launch the Street Cruiser bus.

He was chairman of governors at Hawkhurst Primary School and played a significant role in promoting the village’s twinning society.

He had his own opticians chain, with branches in Southborough and West Malling, and also served as a magistrate on Central Kent bench in Maidstone and Sevenoaks since 1979.

Mr Brown, who has suffered ill health in the past year, has just turned 65 and decided it was time to retire from the council and take life a little easier.

He faced a difficult month after being arrested in October last year, while police investigated allegations that he had distributed child pornography. His name was cleared after no charges were brought.

At their April meeting, his colleagues gave him a unanimous vote of thanks for the enormous contribution he had made to village life over the past two decades.

Vice chairman Margaret Brinsley said: “Keith has worked tirelessly for the village. He has made a tremendous contribution to village life – the fete, the Christmas lights.

“People like him are very few and far between.”

Mr Browns’ retirement on May 12 will create a vacancy that will be filled by co-option unless 10 electors call for an official poll to be held.

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