'Mr Alnwick' awarded honorary freedom of town
One of Alnwick’s best known residents has been made an honorary freeman of the town.
Adrian Ions becomes only the second person to have received the highest honour Alnwick Town Council can bestow.
Mayor Lynda Wearn presented the award in a ceremony at the Masonic Lodge on Friday where Adrian was joined by around 20 people including his family, members of Alnwick Lions and town councillors.
He said: “I feel highly honoured to have received such an accolade. I would like to thank my family and friends without whom this would not have been possible.”
The award has been given ‘for outstanding public service, his commitment to the people and business community of Alnwick, and for his generous support of its sporting, cultural, and social organisations’.
Cllr Gordon Castle said: “Anyone who doesn’t know Adrian can’t have lived in Alnwick very long as he is more than just a senior citizen of Alnwick but part of its living heritage, having cast himself in many roles and occupations that make him the familiar and much-loved figure that he is.
“Adrian is so much part of Alnwick that when a question arises about its past the words ‘Adrian Ions will know’ are almost an automatic follow on.
"His collection of old Alnwick photographs must be unrivalled and his wonderful slide shows were so interesting that I don’t ever recall them actually coming to an end by getting to the final slide.”
Adrian, who also received an MBE in 2001, has always been involved in the heart of community life, having been a director of the Alnwick International Music Festival for a number of years and a key supporter in helping to create the Bailiffgate Museum.
He was also Town Waite for many years usually seen escorting the Shrove Tuesday football committee down the Peth to the pastures dressed in his silver and blue finery.
Born in Felton, Adrian has lived in Alnwick for the majority of his life and had has a number of occupations – driving instructor, collector of antiques, publican, and town guide.
As landlord of The Fleece he was renowned for his management and intolerance of certain unwanted customers, of whom there were many in the 1970s, but he kept his beer well.
Bill Batey was the town council’s first honorary freeman in 2019.