Former Leader of the Council to be awarded Freedom of the Borough

Release Date: 02/03/2017

A former Leader of the Council is to receive the highest honour the borough can award; it was announced at Tuesday’s Council meeting.

The Leader of the Council, Lord True announced that it is his intention to recommend that the Council awards Sir David Williams, a Freedom of the Borough accolade. Sir David represented Ham and Petersham ward on the Council from 1974 to 2014, and was Leader of the Council from 1983 to 2001.

He has recently announced his retirement from local politics. However, as a councillor for more than 40 years, serving as Leader for 18 years, he is the only person ever to hold the post for such a long period of time.

Sir David was the first Liberal Democrat Group Leader and Vice Chair at the Local Government Association (LGA) in 1997-2001. He was also a Commissioner at the Audit Commission. He received a knighthood in 1999 for services to Local Government and the LGA.

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“Awarding Sir David Williams with Freedom of the Borough is a perfect way to recognise his huge contribution to Richmond upon Thames over 40 years. Not only is he the longest serving councillor, but also the longest leader. A combination that is not likely to be rivalled again.

“Sir David has left a long legacy in the borough, including leading on the redevelopment of Richmond Riverside. A destination that thousands of people enjoy. It is only right that we recognise his hard work and contribution in this way.”

Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of the Opposition, said:

"It is entirely fitting that the borough should recognise the commitment and devotion to the borough which Sir David has demonstrated to the borough not only as Leader of The Council but also as a ward councillor for some 40 years. He remains one of the towering figures of local politics and the Freedom of the Borough is a well-deserved accolade."

Sir David Williams, added:

“It has been a real privilege to represent the local community for more than half my life. I think I made a difference both the Richmond upon Thames and to Ham and Petersham. Ham and Petersham was a wonderful place to represent as it has a strong community feeling – and such a beautiful environment, with both the Park and the River. Thank you for this recognition.”

Updated: 21 June 2017