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Four NHS trusts awarded rare freedom of Sefton Borough honour at Town Hall ceremony last night

Last night (Thursday 26 January), Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust, as well as Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, were awarded the Honorary Freedom of the Borough by Sefton Council.
In a special ceremony held at Bootle Town Hall, Council Leader Ian Maher presented the award in recognition of the dedication, sacrifice and heroism show by local healthcare workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around 70 of the Trusts officers and their invited guests attended last night’s ceremony and civic reception.

Making the presentation, Cllr Maher said:

“It really is an honour and a great pleasure to thank our NHS partners and healthcare heroes.

“People were going into a situation during the pandemic where they did not know the outcomes. It is pure bravery.
“The Freedom of the Borough is also about the support and help our health services give to us all every day.

“Every member of our council is in awe of our frontline workers and I am confident that people across Sefton will agree that the work of these NHS staff need to be recognised and rewarded.”

Ahead of last night’s ceremony, Sue Musson, Chair of Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:

“It is a great honour for the Trust to be awarded Sefton Council’s Freedom of the Borough for our services during COVID-19.

“The pandemic presented immense challenges for all of us working in healthcare, and this award recognises the remarkable courage, selflessness and resilience of our staff who cared for patients, families and each other at a very dark time. We are so grateful to receive this very special honour and for the continuing friendship and support of colleagues across the Borough.”

Neil Masom OBE, the chair of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust said:

“This is a tremendous honour for the tireless and often challenging work of colleagues during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Every one of them is on the frontline in one way or another whether they are in a clinical, support or administrative role. We all work as one team and one family, ensuring we deliver the best possible care for those in need.”

Dame Jo Williams, Chair of Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Louise Shepherd, Chief Executive of Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We are hugely honoured to be recognised and to have been awarded the Freedom of the Borough from Sefton Council. It is fantastic recognition for our staff and colleagues who have worked tirelessly and bravely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Alder Hey is privileged to play a vital role in supporting the health of children in Sefton and around the world. This would not be possible without the support we receive from children and families around the Borough and from our friends and partners in the Local Authority and other agencies.”

Joe Rafferty CBE, Chief Executive of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Like all other NHS organisations, the COVID-19 pandemic presented huge challenges for Mersey Care, and I see this honour as recognition for everyone who have worked so hard during some of the most difficult times in the history of the NHS.

“We’ve had to adapt, quite often find different ways of working, but I’m extremely proud of the way we’ve continued to care and kept our mental health and community health patients and service users safe.”

Freedom of the Borough is the highest ceremonial honour Sefton Council can bestow. It will stand as a permanent record of the Borough’s endless appreciation and debt of gratitude to the Trusts and their staff.

Organisations receiving Freedom of the Borough gain the ‘right, privilege, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of the Borough on all ceremonial occasions with colours flying, bands playing, drums beating and bayonets fixed’.

Previous organisations to have been granted Freedom of the Borough include RAF Woodvale, in 2011, and No. 238 (Sefton) Squadron, 156 Regiment, Royal Corps of Transport, in 1982. Individuals who have had the honour bestowed upon them include Jamie Carragher, in 2004, and Donald “Ginger” McCain in 2006.

HMS Mersey will receive Freedom status in April while England footballer Alex Greenwood will also receive the Freedom of the Borough in a ceremony planned for late 2023.