Former Chief Executive awarded Freedom of the Borough

Release Date: 25/01/2017

Gillian Norton, former Chief Executive of Richmond Council received the highest honour the borough can award at a special Council meeting last night.

To mark Gillian's retirement and in recognition of her service to Richmond upon Thames, the Leader of the Council, Lord True and the Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Gareth Roberts, presented Mrs Norton with a Freedom of the Borough accolade.

Gillian Norton was Chief Executive of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames since August 1999. Before that she was Chief Executive of Wokingham District Council for six years.

Gillian retired from Richmond at the end of September, whereupon she began her honorary position as Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Richmond upon Thames.

Lord True said:

"Gillian Norton has been an exemplary public servant and sets an example in integrity that others can only aspire to. It is only right that we recognise her unique and creative service the borough in this way.

"She showed dedication and commitment over her 17 years at Richmond Council. A person respected on both sides of the Council chamber. She led the Council team through every challenge and opportunity and this high honour is an appropriate expression of thanks for everything she achieved for so many, for so long.”

Cllr Roberts added:

“The Freedom of the borough is the highest honour which this council has within its gift and it is entirely appropriate that we should award it to recognise the contribution which Gillian has made to the good governance of this borough.

“Political administrations come and go so it is vital that residents are confident in the knowledge that, whatever the political make-up of the council, the officers of the council, and the chief executive in particular,provide stability and public service of the highest calibre. Gillian provided that in spades; she's a class act, we'll miss her judgement, dedication and wisdom and I'm sure we all wish her well for the future.”

Gillian Norton, said:

“I feel so honoured to receive the Freedom of the Borough and am immensely grateful to the Council for recognising my service in this special way.

“Richmond upon Thames has changed a great deal since I first started here and there is much to celebrate. I look forward to seeing the borough continuing to prosper for the benefit of those who live and work here.”

The Freedom of the Borough is the highest award Richmond Council can give and is an honour bestowed on very few people. It recognises eminent services of local people to the borough. The award dates back to the middle ages when Freemen had commercial privileges and a route into a position of power in a town or city.

The Lord-Lieutenant appoints a Representative Deputy Lieutenant to each of London’s 32 boroughs to assist him in his role as Her Majesty’s representative.

Updated: 29 June 2017