Councillor Joss Loader, who represents Marine ward on behalf of the Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association, has been named the first Iindependent chairman at the council for 15 years.
She will represent the council at community and civic events for the next year, replacing councillor Peter Metcalfe.
The former journalist, who previously worked as news editor on the Shoreham Herald and Worthing Herald, said she would use her term in office to raise the profile of the area – which she praised for its ‘fantastic community spirit’ – and raise awareness of the role of chairman.
Ms Loader, who became a councillor because of her ‘strong interest in her community’ and her ‘passion for keeping residents fully engaged, consulted and informed’, said there was still some uncertainty about the role.
While the Adur chairman has traditionally raised money for charities during their 12 months in office, Ms Loader said she wanted to launch a community defibrillator appeal to provide publicly accessible machines across the district.
The mother-of-two, who has lived in Shoreham Beach for almost 20 years, said: “We have already done this with great success on Shoreham Beach and the residents’ association installed two defibrillators last month after a fund-raising drive.
“It’s early days but I plan to work with local community groups to try to ensure that all areas have 24/7 access to these great machines.
“I am doing this in memory of my late father, Brian Hollebone, who died very suddenly from a catastrophic heart attack more than 30 years ago, when defibrillators were not available.
“If just one resident’s life can be saved, I shall consider it a job very well done.”
The new vice chairman is Councillor George Barton, who represents Peverel ward.