LONG-serving Old Cleeve councillor Timothy Webb was created a ‘Freeman of the Parish’ this week in honour of his voluntary work across seven decades.

Parish council chairman Cllr Ian Duncan presented Mr Webb with a ‘Freedom of the Parish’ award during a civic ceremony in the Lysaght Hall, Old Cleeve.

Mr Webb had been a parish councillor for more than 58 years, including chairing the authority, before stepping down in March.

He was accompanied by his wife Jeanne for the presentation, which took place during Old Cleeve’s annual parish meeting, which was chaired by Cllr Duncan.

The Old Cleeve freedom scroll presented to Tim Webb.
The Old Cleeve freedom scroll presented to Tim Webb. PHOTO: George Ody. ( )

In accepting the award, Mr Webb paid tribute to his fellow councillors past and present over the years, and highlighted how they all gave up much of their own time freely to work in the best interests of the community without seeking any reward.

Mr Webb said it was a case of people looking at ‘the sense of place where we are’ and knowing it was down to them to look after it.

He had been elected to the parish council at a by-election held in October, 1965, when there were two vacancies to be filled and three candidates contesting them, and had served continuously until this year.

The ‘Freedom of the Parish’ is the highest award a parish council can bestow on a parishioner and although it carries no powers, rights, or privileges, those who receive the honour are able to use the title of ‘Freeman’ or ‘Freewoman’.

Parish clerk Andrea Johnson said: “This honour should only be awarded on rare and exceptional occasions, and this is the first time we have bestowed this prestigious award, which recognises exceptional service and valued contributions to our community.

“Tim served as a parish councillor for over 58 years, from 1965 to 2024, as councillor, committee member, and chairman, and his dedication has had a significant impact on our parish.”

The freedom scroll states: “We the council grant you this highest honour we can bestow for the valuable and devoted service rendered to the council by you for more than 58 years.

“During that time you have served in many positions and held high offices including councillor, committee member, and chairman, from 1965 until 2024.

“We loudly applaud your valuable and sterling service while thanking you most sincerely.”

Cllr Duncan said: “In many ways it is a sad day for us because we will miss his expertise. He has been a real stalwart.

“His specialism was in footpaths and rights of way and the history of the parish, because he has been here his entire life.

“There is not a great deal he does not know about the place.”

Cllr Duncan said it might be that Mr Webb was a national record-holder with his 58 years as a parish councillor, and he was certainly the longest-serving ever in Old Cleeve.

Old Cleeve has a total of 15 councillors who serve in three different wards covering the communities of Old Cleeve, Washford, and Roadwater.