Dudley frontline heroes honoured with Freedom of the Borough

Frontline heroes in Dudley who risked their lives to save others during the coronavirus pandemic have been granted the Freedom of the Borough.

Diane Wake, chief executive of the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust, receives the freedom scroll from the Mayor of Dudley on behalf of NHS staff
Diane Wake, chief executive of the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust, receives the freedom scroll from the Mayor of Dudley on behalf of NHS staff

NHS staff, voluntary sector workers and those working in adult social care, public health, children's services and bereavement services gathered on Tuesday.

They attended Himley Hall to receive the accolade and were personally thanked for their efforts by Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Anne Millward, and council leader Councillor Patrick Harley.

The Freedom of the Borough is the highest honour that a council can bestow, and it has been awarded in the past to the likes of Sir Lenny Henry, RAF Cosford and Roy Richardson. Frontline staff in receipt of the freedom scroll now have the right to drive their sheep or cattle through the middle of Dudley town centre.

Councillor Millward said: "It was an honour and a privilege to present Freedom of the Borough to frontline workers for serving the people of this great borough of ours, Dudley, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"This is the first time in Dudley’s history that we are presenting Freedom to so many people, and it is so very much deserved. The last two years have been unprecedented and have changed all our lives.

"Without the hard work, dedication and commitment of yourselves, and your colleagues in the frontline services, we would not have been able to get through this. You all have our eternal thanks."

Diane Wake, chief executive of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust which runs Russells Hall Hospital, said the trust was "incredibly proud" to receive the accolade, thanking staff and the council – alongside other partners in the area – for their hard work.

Dame Yve Buckland, chair of the trust, added at a public meeting on Wednesday that staff had "surpassed" their expectations by stepping up amid the pandemic and it was fantastic to be honoured in such a way.

The decision to grant the Freedom was made at a meeting of full council following a vote in July 2020, but restrictions and lockdowns delayed the awarding of the scrolls which took place on Tuesday.

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