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Unique award for veteran Mildenhall councillor who served his ward for 40 years




Chairman Brian Harvey presents Nigel Roman with the first and only freedom of the district after 40 years on the council Picture Mark Westley (7977769)
Chairman Brian Harvey presents Nigel Roman with the first and only freedom of the district after 40 years on the council Picture Mark Westley (7977769)

A councillor who has served his ward for 40 years was set to become the first – and last – recipient of the Freedom of Forest Heath District at last night’s final full meeting of the council before it merges with neighbouring St Edmundsbury.

Cllr Nigel Roman was elected by the voters of Great Heath Ward in May 1979 and has represented them ever since. He has served two terms as chairman, from 1987 to 1988 and 2000 to 2001 and was also the first deputy leader of the council, a position he held for 18 years.

Last night’s meeting marked the end of his long service as he will not stand in May’s elections to the new West Suffolk District Council.

“I joined as a Forest Heath councillor and I’ll go out as one,” said Cllr Roman. “I have done a job that I enjoyed for 40 years and I am very moved to have been given this great honour. A lot of people have got me to where I am today and I thank them all.”

First on the list will be his wife Sandra. “When I first stood for the council she said she would support me and she has been my rock,” he said.

Forest Heath District Council's end of term photo
Forest Heath District Council's end of term photo

Among the highlights of the 40 years was a visit to Japan at the invitation of the Japanese government when he visited the horseracing centre of Urakawa and also gained a first-hand insight into local government there. He has attended a royal garden party and has met the Princess Royal on a number of occasions. He values his ongoing friendships with US servicemen, some going back more than 30 years.

Cllr Roman will stand again for Mildenhall Parish Council and has also volunteered for duties at the town’s museum, of which he is a trustee.