Freedom of the borough
Section 249(5) of the Local Government Act 1972 states that a council may admit "persons of distinction and persons who have in the opinion of the Council, rendered eminent services to the borough" as Honorary Freeman or in the case of HM Services Units, Freedom of the Borough.
The resolution must be passed by not less than two-thirds of the members at a meeting of the council specially convened for the purpose with notice of the object.
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Who can be awarded Freedom of the Borough?
The overriding principle is that these awards should be made on merit, defined as:
- Exceptional Service
Awards should not be for a job well done or because someone has reached a particular level. They should be awarded because an individual has, ‘gone the extra mile’ in the contribution they have made or stand out ‘head and shoulders’ above others in what has been achieved.
To be considered, someone should have
- delivered in a way that has brought distinction to borough life and enhanced the borough’s reputation in the area or activity concerned
- contributed in a way to improve the lives of those less able to help themselves
- demonstrated innovation and entrepreneurship which is delivering results in the borough.
The awarding of the title of Honorary Freeman is the highest honour that a borough council can grant and, in the view of many, should not be given too often.
The title of Honorary Freeman does not give any rights but it is hoped that person would support the Office of Mayor at civic functions.
The awarding of the Freedom of the Borough to Service Units ‘to march through the streets of the borough with bayonets fixed, drums beating and Colours flying’ is really an empty grant. The practice has been generally accepted and provides a dignified and satisfactory means of enabling a city or borough to honour a distinguished unit of Her Majesty’s forces.
Borough of Basingstoke and Deane recipients
Arthur Harry George Attwood (deceased) awarded on 20 April 1989, Local Historian and Journalist.
Betty Homes MBE (deceased 22 April 2009) awarded on 19 October 1989 - Work for local charities, twin towns and community at large.
Jack Lennox (deceased) awarded on 3 April 1997, Borough and County Councillor and particular interest in planning and housing issues affecting the future of the borough.
Borough of Basingstoke recipients
George William Willis (deceased), awarded on 8 April 1954
Russell Henry Howard (deceased) awarded on 9 October 1958
Royal Hampshire Regiment awarded on 16 July 1966 - Regiment is now amalgamated and is known as the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment (POWRR)
Royal Air Force Odiham awarded on 20 July 1968 - the ceremony took place in the War Memorial Park at 3pm and the Mayor Cllr J F Balding JP took the salute with the Commanding Officer of RAF Odiham, Group Captain W E Martin DFC, AFC, RAF
Oscar Clennell (deceased) awarded on 2 July 1971
Harold Jackson (deceased) awarded on 2 July 1971
Tom Pritchard (deceased) awarded on 2 July 1971
Nellie Lane (deceased) awarded on 14 March 1974
John Beadman Peat (deceased) awarded on 14 March 1974
Lionel John Stroud (deceased) awarded on 14 March 1974
Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Ammunition Depot Bramley awarded on 29 March 1974 - they no longer exist and therefore do not exercise their right.
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