Ex-mayor given top City honour for charity work
Civic leader recognised for lifetime achievement in good causes
A former Ashford Mayor joins the ranks of Florence Nightingale and Nelson Mandela as a prestigious Freeman of the City of London.
Michael Claughton, also previously deputy leader of Ashford Borough Council, a vice-president of the Find a Voice charity and chairman of the Ashford Access Group, has been awarded the distinguished title.
The Honorary Freedom is the highest honour the City of London can bestow and is a recognition of lifetime achievement.
After being nominated by council leader Gerry Clarkson, Mr Claughton, his wife Daphne, son Tom and sister Helen West travelled to The Guildhall, in London, to collect his certificate.
Mr Claughton said: “It was an amazing experience to see all the pictures of people that my name is now bracketed with.
“It is such an honour to even have your name put forward.
“I knew I was going to be nominated but I did not expect to actu- ally receive it.
“I’ve been around a long time and do a fair bit of work with charities and I have been trying to put back something to the community in my council role for more than 22 years!”
The granting of the Freedom of the City of London is one of the oldest surviving traditional ceremonies, first granted to King Charles II in 1674.
The medieval term ‘freeman’ meant someone who enjoyed privileges outside the control of a feudal lord, so as it stands today it comes with an unusual perk.
Mr Claughton joked: “I can now drive my flock of sheep over London Bridge, so that’s my lifetime ambition fulfilled.
“I just need a flock of sheep. But honestly, it is a great honour and I am hugely proud.”
Michael Claughton, wife Daphne, son Tom and sister Helen West in London for his award of Freeman of London