Polegate and Willingdon councillor Stephen Shing has made the history books by becoming the longest serving Chinese councillor in the UK.
Cllr Shing, who sits on Polegate Town Council, Wealden District Council and East Sussex County Council, has 17 years of service.
To celebrate, Stephen, his family and a group of sixty deliverers and supporters met up for a meal at the local Buffet Time restaurant in Eastbourne.
Stephen came to Eastbourne, aged 17, to work in one of the town’s first Chinese restaurants and attended a local language school to improve his English.
He was first elected - on the cold winter’s night of November 13, 1997 - to represent Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council.
Since then he has served five terms with the parish, five terms with Polegate Town Council and four terms each with Wealden District and East Sussex County Councils.
Stephen became independent of any political party in 2005.
Stephen said, “This independence enabled me, and my team, to serve the local community without restriction or party bias.
“It also meant that I was free of party shackles to pledge my commitment to work alongside a community I love and, also, to serve them with the utmost transparency and accountability.
“In a time when public trust in politicians is at an all-time low, I, together with my family-based team, have sought to build trust with residents using a clear policy of responding to all their concerns and suggestions and by steering clear of the mud-slinging and in-fighting that persists in politics.”
In the same year Stephen started his newsletters which are delivered every two months to homes across Willingdon, Polegate, Jevington, Long Man, East Dean and West Dean.
Stephen said, “Our deliverers are greatly valued by us and our community.
“They often receive fond praise from residents when calling.
“We also value the feedback we receive from residents who frequently express their appreciation of ‘Feedback’ newsletters and commend their accuracy and worth.
“One lady even told me that she collects the ‘Feedback’ newsletters and keeps them in an album.”
Stephen’s family has followed in his footsteps.
His wife Oi Lin and his two sons, Daniel and Raymond, have also been elected to local councils - from parish up to county council level.
His two sons have also made the record book and they are some of the youngest ever to be elected to the councils.
Stephen added, “I’m very proud to have served our community for 17 years.
“I see it as a mere stepping stone to a future of continued service and further success working in and alongside a community that is so close to our hearts.”