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Sefton Cabinet approves NHS Freedom of Borough recommendations

Cllr Ian Maher
Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher

Proposals to grant Aintree and Liverpool University NHS Trust and Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust the Honorary Freedom of the Borough have been approved at Sefton Council’s Cabinet meeting today.

A report to the meeting recommended the Council placing on record its high appreciation of, and the debt of gratitude to the Trusts in the light of their hard work and dedication during the ‘devastation of the Covid 19 Pandemic’.

Exceptional

Commenting on the Cabinet decision to approve the recommendation, Cllr Ian Maher Sefton Council Leader said: “Freedom of the Borough is not something we give easily in Sefton. I can only think of four or five previous occasions when we have awarded it.

“This is about recognising staff in our health service going above and beyond. During the early pandemic when they didn’t have the equipment to protect themselves, but they still went in to work and put themselves at risk.

“We give Freedom of the Borough to people and organisations for exceptional reasons and there can be no more exceptional reason than NHS staff at all levels, putting themselves in potential harm’s way to protect our residents and communities.”

Highest honour

The report to Cabinet said conferring of the Freedom of the Borough upon an individual or service is the highest honour the Council can bestow. It gives the receiving organisation ‘the right, privilege, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of the Borough on all ceremonial occasions with colours flying, bands playing, drums beating and bayonets fixed’.

Previous organisation to have been granted Freedom of the Borough include RAF Woodvale, in 2011, and No. 238 (Sefton) Squadron, 156 Regiment, Royal Corps of Transport, in 1982. Individuals who have had the honour bestowed upon them include Jamie Carragher, in 2004, and Donald “Ginger” McCain in 2006.

Scrolls

Scrolls of Honorary Freemen and organisations awarded Freedom of Entry to the Borough are displayed in the Mayor’s Parlour at Bootle and Southport Town Halls. Honorary Freemen can also attend and take part in civic receptions and functions to which all Members of the Council are invited.

The costs of the scroll and reception for Aintree and Liverpool University NHS Trust and Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust would be financed from the Mayoral Hospitality budget provision.

Ahead of today’s meeting, Cllr Maher said the Aintree and Liverpool University and Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trusts “illustrate perfectly why the National Health Service is seen by most as the jewel in Britain’s crown”.

Final approval for the Cabinet decision would be made by Sefton’s full Council meeting.