Highest civic honours for Bishop, hospitals and fire service

THE Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool has been nominated to receive the city’s highest civic honour.

The Right Reverend Tom Williams, who has served in the city for almost half a century, is set to receive Freedom of the City of Liverpool.

He was born off Scotland Road and was ordained priest in the city’s Metropolitan Cathedral in 1972, and served at St Francis of Assisi in Garston, Sacred Heart on Hall Lane, Our Lady of Walsingham parish in Netherton, Our Lady Immaculate Parish in St Domingo Road and St Anthony’s on Scotland Road.

Aintree, Broadgreen and Royal Liverpool Hospitals and the Liverpool University Dental Hospital, and Mersey Fire and Rescue Service are nominated for admission to the Freedom Roll of Associations and Institutions.

Bill Heckle and Dave Jones, who established Beatles tourism in the city, bought and reinvigorated the world famous Cavern Club, created the Mathew Street Music Festival, came up with the concept for the Hard Days Night Hotel and commissioned the hugely popular statue of The Beatles on the Pier Head, are being recommended to receive Citizen of Honour awards, as is Jeff Dunn who has run the city’s Schools Parliament for many years.  

The nominations will be considered at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the council on Wednesday 15 January, and if approved will be followed by individual ceremonies during the year.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “The people and organisations that have been chosen for Freedom of Liverpool and Citizen of Honour awards have made a tremendous positive contribution to life in the city over many years.

“Bishop Tom Williams has dedicated his life to serving his parishioners and the wider faith community, and played a key role in making sure that Project Jennifer overcame the hurdles it faced.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the hard-working and committed staff in our hospitals, and our firefighters, for helping save lives every day.

“Our tourism industry would not be as strong and successful as it is now if Bill Heckle and Dave Jones would not have had the vision to recognise the potential of the city’s unrivalled musical heritage in attracting visitors to our city.

“And Jeff Dunn has done sterling work over many, many years with the Schools Parliament, ensuring our young people contribute to decision making in the city and develop valuable skills such as debating and public speaking.”      

Bishop Tom Williams said: “I am very surprised and humbled at this great honour. Five generations of my family have been part of this city and it has been a privilege to serve here for 48 years, almost 17 of them as Auxiliary Bishop.

“This is truly home to me and I will always be grateful for the support which I have received.”

Mersey Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer, Phil Garrigan said: “It is a tremendous honour for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to be given the Freedom of Liverpool. I am thrilled that we have been recognised for the work we do – Our firefighters, protection officers, prevention teams and our wider support staff work tirelessly day in, day out to keep our communities safe.

“It’s a proud day for everyone who has an affiliation with the service – those serving now and those who have served the city in the past. We have a long and proud history dating back through the ages – and we remain as committed as ever in the protection of our people, our city and our heritage – we will continue to keep residents safe no matter what future challenges hold.”

Steve Warburton, Chief Executive of Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is an incredible honour to receive the Freedom of the City of Liverpool. This is a testament to the hard work, dedication and service of each of our 12,000 staff and volunteers committed to delivering outstanding healthcare to our patients.

“Our staff at Aintree, Broadgreen and Royal Liverpool Hospitals and the Liverpool University Dental Hospital, many of whom are proud Liverpudlians, strive every day to serve this great city and its people. We deeply appreciate this tribute of being awarded the city’s highest civic honour.”

Dave Jones said: “When Bill Heckle and I first started working together in 1983 our aims and objectives were simply based on our belief and passion in Liverpool. We set out to promote the city’s unique music heritage and introduce, the media, the tourism industry and visitors to the spirit of Liverpool, enhance their experience and give them something no other city in the world could.

“Our success over the past 35 years has been driven by vision and taking every opportunity we have been given to develop Liverpool’s Beatles industry

“We never set out to receive awards and accolades. To be nominated for Citizen of Honour awards is amazing. We feel a huge sense of pride and emotion that our work has received this level of recognition.”

Liverpool Waterfront