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Haverhill Town Council awards the Freedom of Haverhill to community figures.

Haverhill Town Council was pleased to recognise the work of three longstanding community stalwarts by awarding them the Freedom of Haverhill at a recent council meeting.

At the full council meeting on 20 December 2021, Brian and Charmian Thompson, along with former town mayor Maureen Byrne, received their awards.

Charmian and Brian Thomson were nominated by town and district councillor, John Burns. Brian is chair and Charmian secretary of the Haverhill Branch of the Suffolk Family History Society, they are members of the Friends of St Marys, invigilate at exams and volunteer as stewards at events.

Cllr Burns said:

“All of this they do with absolutely no fuss, and often little thanks, for the benefit of our town and to keep memories alive for future generations.”

Brian and Charmian said:

“You imagine that the Freedom of the town is awarded to people who have done extraordinary things.

“We consider ourselves to be quite ordinary, simply getting a great deal of satisfaction from being involved with local groups, so to have been singled out for such an honour was totally unexpected.”

“We certainly didn’t foresee being rewarded with the Freedom of Haverhill for doing something that we enjoy.”

“It should be recognised that we are fortunate to live in a town where volunteers are both enabled and encouraged to help with local events and we have had great pleasure from being involved in so many of the outdoor events that have been organised by the town council.”

“We sincerely thank the council for considering us worthy of this award and are prouder than we can say to have received it.”

Maureen Byrne was nominated by town and district councillor Margaret Marks, who cited the many ways in which she has helped countless people, not just during her time as a councillor but also through the untold free time she has given to help those who had lost their jobs and been treated unfairly.

Cllr Marks said:

“She has done much unsung work in the town and was always happy to offer help to any member of the community and all her colleagues and co-councillors.”

Maureen, who also chairs the Women’s Aid in Bury St Edmunds said:

“When I was advised of the award, I was very surprised and was quite a humbling experience.”