Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Granting the Freedom of Frodsham to the Royal British Legion Frodsham Branch

Tonight we held a special meeting of Frodsham Town Council.  For the first time in Frodsham's history we granted the Freedom of Frodsham.  We bestowed the honour on the Royal British Legion Frodsham Branch.  We also granted them the Freedom of Entry to the Town as they are a military detachment.

I had the honour of formally proposing the award and Cllr Fran Sutton seconded the motion.  This is what was said in proposing and seconding the motion:

Cllr Andrew Dawson:

'Mr Chairman, Mr Mayor, Fellow Councillors Honoured and distinguished guests it is a great honour for me to be the one called on to propose the awarding of this council’s first civic honour.  The granting of the Freedom of Frodsham to our very own Royal British Legion Frodsham Branch.
The power to confer the honour of the ‘Freedom of Frodsham’ was granted to us in January 2010.   The granting of the freedom of a town or Borough is a great honour – and we can only grant it to:
Persons of distinction or to
Persons who have in the opinion of this council have rendered eminent service to Frodsham.
We are also going to grant the Freedom of Entry into Frodsham to the Legion too.  Something that can only be conferred on a military detachment.  We are going to give them the right to attend all our civic occasions as well as marching through Frodsham with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed – so everyone be warned!
I truly believe that the Frodsham Branch of the Royal British Legion represents all that is good about Frodsham, and in fact all that is good about our country.
We are all acutely aware I’m sure of the sacrifices made by the armed forces of this country over the years and centuries – especially when commemorating the 100th anniversary of the commencement of the First World War.  
We see the members of our branch of the legion at the Town’s events and celebrations as well as our acts of collective remembrance in November at St Lawrence Church and at the top of the Hill.  For me it is their calm, quiet dignity that stands out on these occasions – even when it might be a fun day in Castle Park.  They are always well presented  - even if I may not be!
It is very much the case that when they stand they stand not only for themselves and the work that they do – but also for their and our countless comrades who never came back from serving our country.
But of course much of the work of the legion is what we don’t see on the public occasions.
The Royal British Legion is an organisation that stands for peace and that seeks to relieve suffering caused by war.  It stands for welfare, comradeship, representation and remembrance and by granting our branch of the legion the freedom of Frodsham we are saying, in my view, we wholeheartedly support you in your vital work.
Now I’ve always been one to participate in acts of remembrance – and I’ve done this from my youngest days.  But for me what the Legion is all about, why they are so important and why it is right that we honour them with our first honour struck home to me in an event in the nearby Brindley Theatre.  
It was nearly 4 years ago when I was Mayor.  I was proud to represent Frodsham at a concert organised by the Legion.  
During the evening I was asked to present a framed photograph to a young lad.  The photograph was of his father – a soldier.  A soldier who wasn’t coming home.  
The small act of commemoration I participated in was part of the much greater support the Legion was offering that bereaved family.  The Legion was there for that family – helping them in their darkest days as they have done for countless other families up and down the country since they were formed.
I wish the need for that work wasn’t there, but it is,  and regrettably the need for their support looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.
I now turn to the formal proposal to this council which is before us all in writing which allows me simply to say.

Mr Chairman, Mr Mayor, Fellow Councillors, Honoured and distinguished guests I propose:
that Frodsham Town Council grant and bestow to the
Royal British Legion, Frodsham Branch
the Honorary Freedom together with the Freedom of Entry into the town and parish of Frodsham in the County of Cheshire.

Thank you Mr Chairman.'

Cllr Fran Sutton, Deputy Mayor of Frodsham said:
Mr Chairman, Mr Mayor, Fellow Councillors, Honoured and distinguished guests I have great honour in seconding the proposal.
The certificate commemorating the granting of these Freedoms also explains why we are conferring these honours.
It says that the granting of these freedoms are
in consideration of:
 the eminent service and sacrifice of members of the Royal British Legion both past and present to our Sovereign Lady the Queen and her predecessors, to our country, and to and for the community and town of Frodsham;

And in recognition of the long standing association between the
Royal British Legion and the community and town of Frodsham;

And in due recognition of their eminent service and sacrifice made in the
defence of freedom, in relieving suffering and in advancing the cause of peace

The Council of this Town and Ancient Borough of Frodsham
is pleased and proud to grant the honour and admit the
Royal British Legion, Frodsham Branch to the
Honorary Freedom of the town and parish of Frodsham


And also to grant to it the full right and freedom of entry together with the privilege, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of Frodsham on ceremonial occasions with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed and to be represented henceforth at all civic occasions.

I second the motion.

As one would expect the motion was carried unanimously.

The formal presentation was then carried out by the Mayor of Frodsham Cllr Allen Wales and our Junior Mayors.

Lots of photographs were taken - and here are just a few of them... as you can tell, not all taken by me!

Me proposing that the Council awards both the Honorary Freedom and the Freedom of Entry to Frodsham

The response for the Legion - suggesting that they will enjoy exercising their freedoms in Frodsham!

Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Junior Mayors of Frodsham conferring the Freedoms on the Legion

signing the Certificates conferring the Freedom of Frodsham on the Royal British Legion Frodsham Branch.

The commemorative certificate and Badge commemorating the bestowal of the Freedom of Frodsham
The formal certificates


It was a wonderful first for Frodsham and I look forward to the Town honouring many others over future years who have served Frodsham and the wider community with distinction.