Long-serving councillor awarded Freedom of Wooler

Wooler man Anthony Murray has been made an honorary Freeman of the town in recognition of his tireless and valued service to the local community.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 11:47 am

The 84-year-old stepped down from his role as a member of Northumberland County Council at the recent election.

The Freedom was bestowed by Wooler Parish Council, the highest honour it can give, as thanks for his efforts over many decades.

Anthony, receiving the honour at Monday’s parish council meeting, said: “Many thanks from Trish (Patricia) and myself, this is a very sad day for me, but the time comes to us all.”

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Anthony Murray, who recently stepped down as Wooler county councillor, is presented with the Freedom of the town by his successor, Cllr Mark Mather.

Mark Mather, former parish council chairman and now Anthony’s successor as county councillor, admitted that stepping into his shoes would be a a very hard act to follow.

He said: “Anthony is held with the greatest respect and affection by all those who know and work with him.

"He has dedicated his entire life to selfless service for the Glendale community and beyond and I cannot think of a more worthy recipient of this honour.”

The father of two and grandfather of four had been a county councillor since 2008 and a member of the National Park committee since 1972.

Anthony Murray was presented with a Freedom scroll and a bottle of whisky.

In addition, he has carried out an enormous amount of work for local residents and organisations spanning right back to 1946 when he joined Chatton Young Farmers.

He farmed at Amerside Law with West Weetwood from 1953 to 1986, combining the job with roles on Chatton Parish Council and, from 1982, on Berwick Borough Council.

He moved to Bellingham in 1986 and ran Kielder Water Cruises for a decade before returning to Wooler in 1996 where he developed Glendale Garden Centre and again served on Berwick Borough Council, becoming Mayor in 2006.

He was also the county council’s civic head in 2017.

County council leader Glen Sanderson said: “I’ve known Anthony for a great many years and have had huge respect for him over all that time. He has given, and continues to give, great service to the people in his community and I am deeply grateful for everything he does.

“It’s been an honour to work alongside Anthony on the council over many years, but his council work is just a small proportion of his service to Wooler and the surrounding community which has spanned decades.

“I’d also like to say a special thank you to his wonderful wife Patricia who has supported Anthony tremendously over the years. They make a great team.

“Anthony was awarded the MBE in 2015 and I know being awarded the Freedom of Wooler, his much-loved hometown, will touch him deeply and is an award that will be greatly cherished.”

He currently serves on numerous committees including as chairman of governors at Glendale Middle School, as a trustee of the Glendale Gateway Trust, a member of the Northumberland Uplands Advisory Group and is chairman of Friends of Wooler Church Yard. He is a River Tweed Commissioner, sits on Community Action Northumberland (CAN) and regularly attended eight parish council meetings in his ward.

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