Freeman and Freedom awards officially granted

Thursday, 24th September 2015

A FORMER councillor who served on Tamworth Borough Council for more than 30 years has been officially made an honourary Freeman of the Borough of Tamworth.

Ken Gant was awarded the honour for his years of dedicated service to the community of Tamworth, as well as his service to the council.

Mr Gant was nominated for the honour for his 38 years of eminent service to Tamworth – including his years as a councillor and all his work for the Royal British Legion and its Poppy Appeal. Mr Gant is Chairman of the Tamworth branch of the Royal British Legion and organised the town’s Poppy Appeal for 19 years until he stepped down in 2011.

He has also given more than 30 years of service as a member of Tamworth Borough Council, where he represented the Spital ward until stepping down ahead of this year’s borough election. Mr Gant held the office of Mayor of Tamworth in 2004.

The award was agreed in July this year, when members of Tamworth Borough Council voted unanimously to make Mr Gant an honourary Freeman of the Borough of Tamworth. The honour was officially conferred at a special ceremony held in the Town Hall on Wednesday.

Accepting the award, Mr Gant said: “I never expected to receive such an honour and privilege, to be made a Freeman of this beautiful town I love so dearly. I would like to thank the councillors on both sides for their unanimous vote and I pledge to continue to do my best to help the people of Tamworth.”

The honour of Freedom of the Borough of Tamworth was also conferred on the Tamworth and Wilnecote Unit of St John Ambulance at the same ceremony, in recognition of more than 100 years of service to the borough

The Moor Street-based unit celebrated its centenary earlier this year, when it also welcomed members from the Wilnecote unit, which merged with the Tamworth unit following its closure after 96 years.

Members of the unit went along to the Town Hall ceremony to receive the honour, which was made in recognition of the first aid training and medical cover which has been given – free of charge – to the community over the past 100 years.

Freedom-Freeman presentations 144

Tamworth and Wilnecote Unit of St John Ambulance

Accepting the award, Unit Manager Albert Wright said: “This is a wonderful honour and I am proud to accept in on behalf of the Tamworth and Wilnecote Unit of St John Ambulance.

“There is a long line of people over the last 100 years who have given up their time and developed the expertise to serve the people of this town and this honour is a tribute to all of them.”

Roll of honorary freeman:

1951: Frederick George Allton – outstanding service to the Borough over a period of 50 years. During which time he served as a member of the Borough Council for 40 years, Alderman for 17 years and Mayor in 1913.

1955: George Henry Jones – councillor and alderman for 35 years. Served as Mayor in 1932 – 1933 and supported projects for the benefit of Tamworth and residents.

1959: Henry Wood – valuable services as Town Clerk for 30 years and safeguarding the town’s history and heritage.

1977: Philip Dix – recognition of his services to the community as a member of the Council since 1958, Leader of the Council 1967 – 1977 and as Mayor in 1963.

1983: Hubert Brian Leake – services to the community as an Officer, Town Clerk and Chief Executive, and a valuable contribution to the future success and prosperity of the borough

2007: Ron Cook – in recognition of his valuable services a Councillor for 32 years, including Leader of the Council and Mayor in 1977. He also instigated the twinning agreement with Bad Laasphe in 1980

2009: Alec Benwell – recognition of services to the Borough as Mayor’s Sergeant and Civic Officer for 26 years and offering dedication and support in every aspect of Mayoral and civic life.

2009: Terry Dix – services to the Borough as a Councillor from 1967 to 1992, Mayor in 1980 – 1981 and County Councillor between 1981 and 2009.

2011: David Weatherley – former Chief Executive, Tamworth Borough Council. Recognition of his services to the Borough Council.

2014: Alan Keast – in recognition of his services to the community with Tamworth Boxing Club.

2015: Ken Gant – in recognition of his service to the Royal British Legion and Poppy Appeal.

Freedom of the Borough:

Mercian Regiment

Corporal Watchman V and handler WO2 Greg Hedges

Defence Medical Services

Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Fort Rosalie (A385)

Training Regiment, Whittington Barracks

Tamworth service organisations – Royal British Legion, Royal Naval Association, Mercian Regimental Association & Royal Air Force Association

Tamworth & Wilnecote Unit of St John Ambulance