Freedom of the Borough honours presented to 'remarkable people'
PUBLISHED: 15:45 20 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:07 20 May 2016
Individuals and groups who have made a "signficant contribution" to the borough of Newham have been bestowed with the council's highest possible honorary award.
The Freedom of the Borough, plus the title of Alderman/Alderwoman, was conferred on a number of people and organisations in recognition of their contribution to Newham.
Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales awarded the titles and caskets in front of a packed hall during the council’s AGM at the Old Town Hall, Stratford, last night.
He said: “We offer them sparingly, but when we do, they are awarded to remarkable people.
“Each recipient has made a significant contribution to Newham life past and present.
“All are ambassadors, helping to improve how we are perceived locally, nationally and internationally.”
Honorary Freedoms were presented to former councillors Shama Ahmad MBE, Christine Bowden, Lew Boyce, Val Fone and Keith Hasler.
The other recipients were Community Links founder Kevin Jenkins OBE, West Ham Captain Mark Noble, community champion Devendra Patel, volunteer Paul Chelliah, plus Newham and Essex Beagles Athletics Club.
Shama Ahmad, Christine Bowden and Marie Collier also received the title of Alderwoman, while Kevin Jenkins was bestowed with Alderman.
The biggest cheers on the night were reserved for Lew Boyce, who served as a Newham councillor from 1982 to 1994.
During his time, Lew served as Chief Whip and also chaired the committee that introduced the council’s first race relations policy.
The trade unionist said he “soon realised that I had a second home” after moving to Newham in 1982.
Fellow awardee Christine Bowden also paid tribute to the borough in her acceptance speech.
She said: “I moved to Newham 20 years ago and I loved it then and I love it now.
“Newham is a great place for anyone who is living here as there is always something to do – so please enjoy it here.”
Former Newham young mayor Yaseen Bux, who attended Langdon School, was also thanked for his term of office.
The meeting ended with Sir Robin outlining his annual report and work plan for 2016/17.