Trust Chairman Awarded Freedom of Southend-on-Sea

With apologies for late reporting, the Trust was delighted to learn at the start of the year that David Norman MBE, Chairman of the Leigh-on-Sea Endeavour Trust was awarded the honorary freedom of Southend-on-Sea, an award - which requires an unanimous decision from the entire council - made to exceptional individuals who have performed eminent services on behalf of their communities.
There was a special ceremony where the honour, was bestowed upon David by The Worshipful The Mayor, Councillor Margaret Borton.

David, who hails from Leigh fishing and boat building stock, served as a Southend Borough councillor for a total of 23 years, first becoming a Labour councillor for the Victoria ward at 21. Responsible for the social housing scheme, he says building the Queensway flats in 1965-66 remains his greatest achievement.

David then went to Oxford to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford as a mature student, working as a Trade Union Officer for many years subsequently. He returned to Leigh in the early 1990s and was once more elected as councillor for the Victoria ward, where he remained for 19 years. He was Mayor of Southend between 2011-12.

Passionate about Leigh's fishing heritage, he was a founding member of the Trust in 2001, and was instrumental, along with Mike King and Paul Gilson in putting together the business plans that helped securing the funding to restore Endeavour following her discovery in a poor state in Rochester. He remains a key figure in the Trust, ensuring that Endeavour continues to fulfil her charitable purpose and is maintained to a high standard.

As he said to the Leigh Times, "It is important to keep her sailing, which is quite a feat for a boat that is nearly 100 years old, and we couldn’t do it without the small army of volunteers at the Trust."

"It is so wonderful to receive this honorific title," stated David. "I can honestly say that nothing is more rewarding than serving your community as a local councillor and I’ve been honoured to do so in my beloved town of Southend." We can't think of anyone more deserving of it - congratulations, David!

David was the final person to be granted the freedom of Southend-on-Sea before it became a city.

Posthumously, Sir David Amess MP, President of the Endeavour Trust, became the first to receive the Freedom of Southend-on-Sea after it had become a city, so the Trust can feel very proud indeed.

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