Three Reading citizens have been honoured for long and enduring service to the town.

The title of alderman is reserved for those who have had particularly long and eminent services as councillors.

At a full council meeting on Wednesday, May 25 three people, all former councillors, were made alderman.

Reading Chronicle: New aldermen Tony Jones, Joe Williams and Jeannette Skeats. Credit: Chris Forsey / Reading Borough Council

The first former councillor to be given the honour was Tony Jones, who had served as a councillor for Battle, Whitley and Redlands wards.

Mr Jones, who grew up in Wales, was nominated as an alderman by cllr John Ennis (Labour, Southcote).

He explained how he met Mr Jones in the early 1980s and was inspired by his political convictions.

Cllr Ennis said Mr Jones was “passionate about socialism”, adding: “he was going to lead us to the Promised Land.”

In his own speech, Mr Jones praised all councillors present.

He said: “I salute each and every one of you.”

“Well done to all of you for putting your name forward, and the hours of unrecognised work you have and will put in.”

Mr Jones had served as mayor in 2001/2 and 2014/15.

Former councillor Jeannette Skeats was granted the title of alderwoman after being nominated by deputy leader of the council cllr Tony Page (Labour, Abbey).

Cllr Page praised her work as a Conservative opposition councillor and her mayorship in 2003/4, when she ran the Reading Half Marathon.

He finished his speech with a comical anecdote about a visit to a lap dancing club as part of both councillor’s duties on the licensing committee.

The visit resulted in cllr Skeats insisting on a greater distance between lap dancers and their clients.

In her acceptance speech, Mrs Skeats said: “Reading is a vibrant town with a great community.

“I thank the electorate, council officers, and all my colleagues, from all parties. I will continue to promote Reading as much as I can in my new role as a new alderwoman. Thank you Reading.”

Former Berkshire County Councillor Joe Williams was the third person to be made alderman in the ceremony.

Mr Williams migrated to Reading from Guyana and represented Katesgrove as the first Black councillor on Berkshire County Council in the 1980s.

He was nominated by former Labour cllr Sophia James, who stood down ahead of this year’s elections.

She called Mr Williams “a pinnacle of the Black community” in the town.

Mr Williams himself said it had been “a privilege and an honour” to represent his community, remembering the work he had done liaising with police and improving educational opportunities as a councillor.

All three of the aldermen were sworn in by a unanimous vote by councillors.

Cllr Debs Edwards (Labour, Southcote) was made the new deputy mayor after the previous deputy Ayo Sokale stood down ahead of the elections.