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First female freeman for Norfolk town

PUBLISHED: 12:59 07 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:59 07 November 2019

History has been made since Auriol Hughes is the first lady Freeman of Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: Thorpe St Andrew Parish Church

History has been made since Auriol Hughes is the first lady Freeman of Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: Thorpe St Andrew Parish Church

Archant

A Norfolk town has made history and revealed its first female freeman.

Auriol Hughes has been involved in the life of Thorpe St Andrew since 1961, when her mother and family moved to the town. Picture: Thorpe St Andrew Parish ChurchAuriol Hughes has been involved in the life of Thorpe St Andrew since 1961, when her mother and family moved to the town. Picture: Thorpe St Andrew Parish Church

Auriol Hughes has been announced as the freeman of Thorpe St Andrew after more than 40 years of dedication to the community.

The 85-year-old said: "I was absolutely amazed to receive this award. I feel that I haven't done any more than anyone else, but at the same time I am very privileged to be honoured in this way, and I thank the Mayor and Thorpe St Andrew Town Council for presenting me with this."

She first moved to Thorpe St Andrew in 1965 with her family, and has worked as a secretary at the Pastoral Care and Bereavement Group and been active in the WI, the local history group and art classes.

Thorpe St Andrew vicar the Rev James Stewart said: "Auriol is a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge of the parish - and is the first person I turn to if I need to find something out from the past of the parish.

Auriol Hughes has dedicated over 40 years of service to the Parish Church of Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: Thorpe St Andrew Parish ChurchAuriol Hughes has dedicated over 40 years of service to the Parish Church of Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: Thorpe St Andrew Parish Church

"Brevity prevents me listing all of her commitments in the parish - and I suspect there are things which Auriol does which I am not even aware of, such is her nature."

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She is also a regular sight on Yarmouth Road, where she delivers magazines, attends Mothers' Union meetings and hands out handwritten notes of meetings she has attended.

Mr Stewart added: "In a world of Instagram, selfies and reality television it could be said that Auriol cuts a rather contrary figure in our community, yet her faithfulness, patience and devotion to service has shone through for all these years.

"It is my privilege to know her," he added.

Town mayor councillor John Fisher said: "It is one of the most enjoyable duties for a town mayor to be able to recognise local people who make an outstanding contribution to our community.

"The Freedom of the Town is given to someone who has spent decades giving eminent and valuable service to the community, but this description hardly does the service of Auriol Hughes justice.

"Auriol has never sought any praise or recognition for her work over more than 40 years, which makes her so deserving of this award."

■ A freeman is an honour awarded to a prominent person in a town's community and dates back to the Mediaeval age.

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