Do you know anyone who should be made an Honorary Freeman?

From left, Lord Mandelson, Wendy McLoughlin, Jeff Stelling and Isobel Wilson receive the honour in 2010. Pic: Chris Armstrong.
From left, Lord Mandelson, Wendy McLoughlin, Jeff Stelling and Isobel Wilson receive the honour in 2010. Pic: Chris Armstrong.
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People are being urged to put forward community stalwarts for a prestigious honour.

Hartlepool Borough Council is seeking nominations for either individuals or organisations to be granted a historic title of Honorary Freeman or Freewoman.

The decision follows a recent meeting of the Civic Honours Committee, chaired by the town’s Ceremonial Mayor, Councillor Rob Cook.

The Honorary Freeman/Freewoman title is the highest honour a council can bestow, and in the last five decades, it has only been awarded on 25 occasions.

The last recipients in 2014 included Sir Ron Norman OBE - the former chair of Teesside Development Corporation, Elizabeth O’Rourke – who had served Hartlepool Blind Welfare Organisation for 52 years - and Jim Rodgers, who dedicated more than 40 years to Hartlepool Sports Council.

The honour also went to David Gibson, Keith Hewitson, Dr George Morris and The Rifles.

Previous recipients include former Hartlepool MP Lord Peter Mandelson, Hartlepool-born Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling, cancer fundraiser Isobel Wilson and Hartlepool Families First founder Wendy McLoughlin.

Others who have recieved the prestigious accolade include former Town Clerk Eric Waggott, former Hartlepool MP Ted Leadbitter and the Hartlepool Lifeboat Station.

Coun Cook said: “There are many people who have served the town of Hartlepool with distinction and it is appropriate that those who render eminent service are acknowledged.

“It is three years since the council last sought nominations for the historic title and the Civic Honours Committee feels the time is right to seek nominations once again.”

Nominations must be submitted in writing with supporting evidence to Gill Alexander, Chief Executive, Hartlepool Borough Council, Civic Centre, Hartlepool. TS24 8AY.

Alternatively, email cemtpa@hartlepool.gov.uk. The closing date for nominations is Friday, December 2.

The council’s Civic Honours Committee will then meet to consider the nominations before making recommendations to a meeting of the Full Council.

For further information, telephone 01429 523013.