In recognition of 35 years serving Wandsworth Council
On Monday evening, Sir Edward signed Wandsworth’s Roll of Honorary Freemen at the town hall during the special event, watched by family, friends and colleagues old and new, including Wandsworth’s current leader, Councillor Ravi Govindia and its Mayor, Councillor Jane Cooper.
Sir Edward’s name will now be added to the list of Honorary Freemen inscribed on the panel inside the town hall’s council chamber.
Congratulating Sir Edward, Cllr Cooper told gathered guests and dignitaries how rare it is for the honour to be given. She revealed he is one of only three individuals or groups since 1992 to have been awarded the title.
Cllr Cooper added, while there are no longer particular rights or privileges attached to the award, it remains the highest honour a council can bestow – designed to acknowledge publicly those who have given eminent and dedicated service to the borough.
Cllr Govindia said:
“I can think of no one more deserving to receive this honour than Sir Edward. He served on the council for 35 years – the last 19 of which he spent as leader – making him the longest-serving council leader in the country and the true leader of local government.
“Sir Edward established Wandsworth as the best-run local authority and left an incredible legacy – particularly through the restoration and rejuvenation of Battersea Park and providing greater choice and lifting standards across all our schools, which are now among the best in the country.
“If his predecessors could be said to have planned, dug the trenches and laid the foundations of Wandsworth’s reputation, the structure and detail of that reputation is entirely down to Sir Edward.
“That is because over the last 20 years he strengthened Wandsworth’s record as a premier ‘value for money’ council, providing both quality services and a responsive local government to around 300,000 people who are proud to live in the borough.”
During the January 9 ceremony, Sir Edward, who left the council last year to take up the post of Deputy Mayor of London, was presented with an illuminated scroll which records under seal the council’s formal resolution to confer the title. He was also given a commemorative gift from the council and a model rowing boat by his former party colleagues to represent his links to Putney riverside, with its rich rowing tradition.
January 12, 2012