Former Chichester council leader recovering after successful heart surgery

Tony Dignum was leader of Chichester District Council from 2015 to 2019
Tony Dignum was leader of Chichester District Council from 2015 to 2019

The former leader of Chichester District Council is recovering after an operation to replace a valve in his heart.

Tony Dignum, 80, stepped down from his role on the council’s cabinet two weeks ago and underwent surgery at Southampton General Hospital on Wednesday (August 28).

The procedure to replace the leaking, faulty aortic valve was Mr Dignum’s third heart operation and he said it had been ‘totally successful’.

He said: “The operation, called the TAVI [transcatheter aortic valve implantation] avoids open heart surgery, so there is just a brief recovery for some groin wounds and then swift discharge.

“In fact, I came home Friday and am feeling in fine fettle.”

Announcing his decision to step down from the cabinet, Mr Dignum said he had been advised to ‘take things easier’ – but he plans to start attending council meetings again next month, this time as a ‘back bencher’.

He said: “I have greatly enjoyed my seven years in the Chichester District Council cabinet, not least because of the support and hard work of all whom I have worked with in the cabinet, the Conservative Group and the officer management teams.

“I wish all my colleagues, both councillors and officers, well.”

Mr Dignum represents the Chichester North ward and led the authority for four years, stepping aside in May after the Tories lost a number of seats in the election.

He was succeeded by Eileen Lintill, who appointed him cabinet member for finance, growth, place and regeneration.