22 Nov Freedom of the Borough status awards for two inspirational heroes
D-Day veteran Don Sheppard and St Luke’s Hospice co-founder, Trudy Westmore-Cox MBE were awarded Freedom of the Borough by the Mayor of Basildon at a ceremony at Wat Tyler County Park last week (Friday 15 November).
Freedom of the Borough is awarded in exceptional circumstances to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievements and have brought pride to the borough. It is the highest award that Basildon Council can give on behalf of its residents and has only been granted on three other occasions since Basildon was granted borough status in 2010.
Presenting Don with his award, Mayor of Basildon Councillor David Burton-Sampson said: “Don does an incredible amount of work with the Royal British Legion ensuring that we never forget the sacrifice of our Armed Forces and as one of the last remaining survivors of the D-day landings – it is admirable to see him represent his generation.
“My personal reflections on Don are he is an outstanding man who is highly respected both inside and outside military circles and it is an absolute pleasure to know him.”
Accepting his award, Don said: “It’s a great pleasure to receive this award. I was born in Laindon 99 years ago and followed the rise of the town. On Armistice Day this month, we paraded in the town centre and the turnout was absolutely fabulous. I hope in my lifetime to see a bigger war memorial in front of St Martin’s Church because as a borough, I think we need that for days like Armistice Sunday and Armed Forces Day.”
Presenting Trudy with her award Mayor Burton-Sampson said: “I have always known Trudy to be a truly caring and gentle woman. I don’t think there is anybody in the borough who hasn’t been touched by the work that she has done and personally, I have seen people thank her and she warmly hugs every single one.
“All of us know somebody who been helped by St Luke’s Hospice and the services they provide. Thank you Trudy for everything you have done and the borough is a much better place for the work that you have done and continue to do.”
Trudy warmly hugged the Mayor when accepting her award and added: “It is lovely to be here, supported by my family and friends. I come from a large family of caring people, including doctors, nurses and ministers of the church. I would like to thank you very much and I feel privileged to receive this award.
“I have been a nurse all my life, I love my work and helping people. I certainly don’t like to see people hurting and that is why I do what I do. I’m so proud of the continuing and growing work of the Hospice – to know it has had such an impact on so many lives is incredible.”