Very highest honour for Warwick’s newest Freemen

Dick Dixon, Derek Maudlin and Gerry Guest. Picture by Gill Fletcher
Dick Dixon, Derek Maudlin and Gerry Guest. Picture by Gill Fletcher
  • The title of Honorary Freemen of the Town is one of the highest honours a council can bestow on a person
  • To be granted the rare title is seen as a mark of distinction and has only been presented once before in Warwick in recent years
  • The honour itself is purely ceremonial and was handed to Derek Maudlin and Gerry Guest at a ceremony in December

Two men at the heart of Warwick’s community have been made Honorary Freemen of the Town in rare recognition of their efforts.

Retiring town clerk Derek Maudlin and long-standing councillor Gerry Guest were both honoured with what is the highest order possible for the council to bestow to mark services to the community.

Derek Maudlin with his wife, Ros. Picture by Gill Fletcher

Derek Maudlin with his wife, Ros. Picture by Gill Fletcher

The ceremonial honours were given as a mark and token of the high esteem with which the pair are held within Warwick and the effort they have made for its people.

Mr Maudlin was recognised for his “eminent services and commitment to the role of town clerk and upholding the traditions of Warwick”.

Cllr Guest, who is still a town councillor for Warwick West, was presented with the title of Honorary Freeman “in recognition of his commitment to the role of Warwick councillor extending over fifty years”.

Derek Maudlin retired from a lifetime in local government aged 71.

It was only right that we honour these two very important and devoted people in Warwick

Mayor, Mandy Littlejohn

Before his retirement late last year he served as clerk for Warwick Town Council for 15 years. This role included overseeing council debate and donning the traditional grey wig for meetings of the historic Court Leet.

The decision to make him an Honorary Freeman in recognition of the time and commitment he has put in over the years was suggested by councillors when his plans to retire were first made known.

He was presented with a scroll at a ceremony in December alongside fellow Honorary Freeman, Cllr Gerry Guest.

Cllr Guest, aged 82, who represents the Conservative Party on the town council , has served in local government in the UK for over 50 years.

Cllr Gerry Guest and his family at the ceremony. Picture by Gill Fletcher

Cllr Gerry Guest and his family at the ceremony. Picture by Gill Fletcher

He has been mayor of the town three times - in 1982, 1996 and 1999 - and until stepping down last year was also a prominent member of Warwick District Council following his first election in 1976.

Serving town mayor Cllr Mandy Littlejohn who handed over the scrolls at the ceremony, said it was a true honour to be able to thank two such important members of the community. She said: “It was only right that we honour these two very important and devoted people in Warwick.

“They have both contributed so much to the town in very different ways for such a long time. It was an honour to be able to mark their dedication.”

A speech was also made by Cllr Moira-Ann Grainger - daughter of Gerry Guest - on the evening.

Bailiff of the Court Leet, Janet  Honnoraty and low Bailiff Tony Hemming presenting a leaving gift to Derek Maudlin. Also pictured is Derek's wife, Ros and mayor, Mandy Littlejohn. Picture by Gill Fletcher

Bailiff of the Court Leet, Janet Honnoraty and low Bailiff Tony Hemming presenting a leaving gift to Derek Maudlin. Also pictured is Derek's wife, Ros and mayor, Mandy Littlejohn. Picture by Gill Fletcher

Warwick Town Council, is able to offer the honour under an Act of Parliament and it has now been given three times - previously to Dick Dixon for his involvement with the town and its folk festival.