Queen’s New Year honours for the Chichester district

A parish councillor, the county arts officer and two jewellers have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year honours.

Chairman of Itchenor Parish Council Michael Chater was honoured with an OBE for services to local government; Lorna Frances, who works for West Sussex County Council, received an MBE for services to the arts; and founders of the luxury brand Links of London, John and Annoushka Ayton, received MBEs for services to the jewellery industry.

Mr Chater has served his parish council since 1995 and has sat on numerous bodies both locally and nationally. Described as having inspiring passion and leadership, Mr Chater is currently vice president of the West Sussex Association of Local Councils and is the chairman of the National Association for Local Councils.

He said he was ‘absolutely thrilled’ to be chosen.

“Local councils can make such a difference to local people and communities. It has been my own honour to serve people at the local, county and regional levels and to champion the cause of first tier local government nationally.”

Mrs Frances has been WSCC’s lead arts and cultural officer since 1999, after setting up the arts service for the Isle of Wight Council and working in community arts development. She has responsibility for Ahead of the Game, the council’s approach to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Game and has undertaken various voluntary roles in the arts. She has also been responsible for developing the West Sussex Arts Partnership.

Mrs Frances said she was most proud of the cultural programme for Ahead of the Game and her work with AD:uk which involves art officers from councils across the country. AD:uk said her MBE was richly deserved.

She said: “Obviously, I couldn’t have achieved this alone and am indebted to the wonderful teams at WSCC and AD:uk – and I’m thrilled to have this award.”

After selling Links of London in the 1990s, the Aytons started the Annoushka retail business and they are enthusiastic promoters of new talent in the industry.