Barnhill’s Chair of Governors, Councillor John Major, has been honoured “in recognition of his outstanding service to the people of Hillingdon and contribution to public life as an elected Member of the London Borough of Hillingdon.”
Cllr Major, who was elected to the Barnhill ward in 1996 and retires this year, joins a very select group of only twenty-one people who have been honoured by the London Borough of Hillingdon in this way since its inception in 1964. Incidentally the most recent previous recipient was local paralympian Natasha Baker MBE.
“The Freedom” is the very highest tribute that a borough can bestow, and although in modern times it is an honour only and confers no legal rights, Honorary Freemen are invariably invited to take part in all important ceremonial occasions in the borough. Although he doesn’t have the right to drive sheep across a bridge in Hillingdon, Cllr Major does get free parking in council car parks!
Cllr Major was presented with an illuminated scroll at a special council meeting followed by a dinner in the Mayor’s Parlour. Leader of the Council Cllr Ray Puddifoot (a previous Barnhill Vice-Chair of Governors) spoke very favourably about Cllr Major and how he was instrumental in getting Barnhill opened in 1999. He also said that “John would be missed by the council as whole and not just the labour group”. Former Mayor, Cllr Michael Markham described him as “one of the hardest working of councillors”.
In his response Cllr Major spoke about how he was committed to re-opening Barnhill school. “I am still associated with the school as its current Chair of Governors. The school is a real success story in a very deprived area. As well as being in the top 10% of schools nationally it sends 40-50 students onto University every year and in most cases those students are the first from their family to go down that route, thus giving a real lift to the ward and area.”
Cllr Major has been instrumental as the Council’s Carers’ Champion and intends to continue with work in this field during his retirement. He will also continue as Chair of Barnhill Governors and as a governor of Belmore Primary Academy. Hopefully he will now also have more time for his hobbies which include gardening, antiques and reading.