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Haverhill trio given the freedom of the town in recognition of their work in the community



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Three selfless members of the community have been awarded The Freedom of Haverhill by the town council.

Brian and Charmian Thompson, along with former town mayor Maureen Byrne, received their awards from the council last month.

Mr and Mrs Thomson were nominated by town and district councillor, John Burns.

Brian and Charmian Thompson with their Freedom of Haverhill certificates. Contributed picture
Brian and Charmian Thompson with their Freedom of Haverhill certificates. Contributed picture

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.

Maureen Byrne receives her with her Freedom of Haverhill award from the town mayor, Cllr Liz Smith. Contributed picture
Maureen Byrne receives her with her Freedom of Haverhill award from the town mayor, Cllr Liz Smith. Contributed picture

“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's 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.

“Many years ago I made a decision to assist and support our residents when they were struggling for a fair hearing, with the various agencies.

“Speaking up for those who found this difficult was a priority.

"What I describe as Social Justice, Equality for all.

"I never ever wanted anything in return, the reward was seeing positive results, and residents getting their lives back on track. Thank you to those that voted for me.”