A MAYOR has been attending official engagements with a black eye for the last six days after being punched in the face in an unprovoked attack.

Sean McDonald, Mayor of Worthing, was on his way to judge a sandcastle-building competition on Friday afternoon when he got into a conversation with a group of homeless men in Marine Parade, Worthing.

The mayor, who was wearing official regalia, and the Town Crier were on their way to the beach event run by the St George School of English.

On their way back after the competition they passed the group again and noticed one man seemed to have been hurt and was bleeding.

Cllr McDonald said: “We had a chat and as we were walking away one man who hadn’t been there before came up to me, swore at me, then punched me in the face.

“I think the bottom line was he just angry that I was the mayor; it was obvious who I was.”

“I have a black eye, so it’s hardly been a secret. Several people have said to me, ‘what’s wrong with your eye?’"

He added: “It’s one of those things.

“I was in the police force for 30 years and you do have to have a keep calm and carry on philosophy.

“It’s unpleasant but you can’t allow these things to get in the way of more important things.”

The mayor said police, who were already on the scene attending to the injured man, were “excellent” and immediately arrested his attacker.

On Saturday, the mayor wrote on Facebook: “Thank you for your lovely messages and just to confirm I am fine, keeping calm and carrying on.

“I was the victim of an assault and a person has been arrested and charged.

“I will not be making any further comments as the matter is sub judice but thank you for your thoughts.

“I will be attending events as scheduled.”

Brendan Michael Hayhurst, 52, of Upper West Drive, Ferring, has been charged with assault.

The unemployed man will appear before Worthing magistrates on Tuesday, August 16.