'Joan has touched the lives of many': Joy at freedom of the parish honour
PUBLISHED: 17:15 23 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:15 23 July 2019
It is a prestigious honour that dates back centuries.
And there was joy this week as a highly distinguished member of the Kessingland community was given the freedom of the parish.
Awarding the Honorary Freewoman of the parish of Kessingland to Joan Oddy, the honour was bestowed in recognition of her long standing service and commitment to the village.
As a highly respected and long time resident of Kessingland, the Rev Joan Oddy was presented with the honour last week.
At a special meeting of Kessingland Parish Council in February it was unanimously agreed to grant Rev Oddy, 85, with the title of Freewoman of the Parish in recognition of her commitment and support to the Kessingland community.
Last Thursday, July 18 the title of Honorary Freewoman of Kessingland was conffered on Rev Oddy as a special medal was presentated to her during a ceremony held at the Parish Council offices in Marram Green, Kessingland.
The ceremony was attended by Joan's family and friends, as well as serving parish councillors, as the prestigious honour was bestowed upon her for being "a person of distinction and one who has given eminent services to the area," according to the parish council.
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Historically the title of Honorary Freeman or Honorary Freewoman dates from the medieval practice of granting respected citizens freedom from serfdom.
In present times, it is a title given free of responsibility but in recognition of an individuals significant contribution to the community.
A parish council spokesman said: "Joan is being recognised for her long service, exceptional work and dedication to individuals and to the community through various local organisations, including her ministerial work.
"Joan has touched the lives of many."
Born in Hornchurch in Essex in 1934, Joan grew up in Romford and moved to Kessingland in 1980.
With two children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, Rev Oddy has served in many positions and is a former Kessingland parish councillor, as well as a school governor and a member of the Kessingland Patient Participation Group.
She is currently chairman of the Kessingland Help in Need Trust and a member of St Edmunds Church, having been ordained as a priest at the local church.
"The parish council is proud and honoured to be able to confer this honour to such a worthy recipient," the pairsh council spokesman added.