NHS staff and a former politician have officially received an Honorary 'Freedom of the Borough' status. 

At a council meeting at St Helens Town Hall last year, a motion was approved to confer the status on St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals Trust and former MP for St Helens North, Lord Dave Watts.

The honour, which is the highest award the council can grant, recognises the services and work given to the town.

Dating back to the Middle Ages, the title gave people commercial privileges and a route into a position of power in a town or city. 

During a charity ball in April, hospital staff were recognised for their heroic work throughout the pandemic, in addition to their tireless care for residents across the borough.

David Watts was also granted the award due to his 40 years of public service to St Helens.

The former leader of the council was the Labour MP for St Helens North between 1997 and 2015 and was subsequently appointed to the House of Lords.

St Helens Star: Ann Marr OBE accepted the award for St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS TrustAnn Marr OBE accepted the award for St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Presenting the scrolls at the Mayor of St Helens Borough’s recent charity ball at Houghwood Golf Club, Council Leader, David Baines, said:

“Freedom of the Borough is the highest honour a council can give. The list of previous recipients is distinguished, from the first in 1896 - Colonel David Gamble, to Lord Pilkington, Lord Evans, Willowbrook Hospice, St Helens Rugby League Club, and all our service men and women past and present. 

“On 14 April 2021, the council resolved to confer the title of Honorary Freedom of the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens on another two worthy recipients: Lord David Watts and St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.  

“Lord Watts has served our borough impeccably for decades, as a councillor, council leader, member of parliament, and now as a member of the lords. He has always put our communities first.

"And I can’t think of many other things that make me more proud of our country than our National Health Service and the amazing people who deliver it day in, day out. 

“This is the first opportunity following lockdown that we have had to present Lord Watts and our local NHS Trust with their Freedom Scrolls, and I’m delighted to be able to do so.”