Our local NHS has been awarded the highest honour a council can give after councillors voted unanimously to bestow Freedom of the Borough at a meeting of full council last night.
The virtual meeting heard many heartfelt and emotional speeches about the sacrifice and hard work of the NHS in the past year as well as tributes and thanks to all keyworkers who kept the country moving – click here to watch the webcast, starting from the 53 minute mark.
The motion was proposed by Council Leader David Baines and seconded by Deputy Leader Seve Gomez-Aspron.
Proposing the motion, Labour Leader of the Council David Baines said: “I am delighted to propose St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust be bestowed Freedom of the borough. I want to thank our Labour colleagues in Knowsley and their leader Graham Morgan for working together with us in making this happen across both our boroughs.
This pandemic has shown us all what really matters and the people and services which are really vital to a caring, functioning and healthy society. Our incredible NHS, postal workers, shopworkers, delivery drivers, the logistics industry, schools, colleges and nurseries, police and fire and rescue services, council staff, care home workers and more – these are the keyworkers our society cannot do without and we thank each and one of them.
The National Health Service is one of the greatest achievements of any government. Care for those who need it, free at the point of need, staffed by people who day in day out go above and beyond the call of duty even in so-called normal times. Of course the last year has been anything but normal, and the pressure on the NHS has been immense. Together we’ve all endured lockdowns and restrictions so that we might ease that pressure and save lives, and throughout it all the NHS has been there for us.
Chief Executive Ann Marr and our local NHS Trust have performed an outstanding service for local people throughout the pandemic, caring for those suffering from Covid and other illnesses, and working with others including our council in setting up community testing and a vaccination programme which established the region’s first mass vaccination site at Saints, and which has led to St Helens having the highest vaccine take-up in the city region with around 100,000 people now having received at least one jab.
It’s an astonishing achievement, and that’s why we’re proposing this evening that they receive the highest honour we can give.”
Freedom of the Borough is an honorary title and the highest honour a council can give, and as such it is rarely awarded. Find out more about it here: http://moderngov.sthelens.gov.uk/documents/s12352/Freedom%20of%20the%20Borough.pdf
Following the unanimous vote in favour of the proposal, the honour will be presented at a future meeting of council.