Warboys Parish Council Awards Honorary Freeman Title

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On Monday 25th April Warboys Parish Council voted to grant Roy Reeves, the Parish Clerk of 27 years, the title of Honorary Freeman. Before the voting the Chair of Warboys Parish Council read the below citation to all attendees;

This Special Meeting of Warboys Parish Council is to consider admitting Roy Reeves as an Honorary Freeman of the Parish of Warboys.

Roy’s work with the Council started on 1st January 1996, being appointed to the post of Clerk and Roy retired in November 2023. During that time, there have been at least 45 members of the Council and 6 chairmen. There have been 11 Handymen and 2 Cleaners (Rosemary and her mother, plus her sister voluntarily).

It is impossible to sum up 27 years’ of service to the community so I have some highlights of Roy’s work to share and support this proposal.

Roy has attended more than 800 meetings of the Council and committees and filled more than 12 volumes of minute books. During that time, the Council purchased the open spaces at the Pathfinder Way, Farriers Way and Orchard Close estates, as well as Onyetts Field (and turned down the offer of the open spaces at Mahaddie Way and the Bellway estates). The number of playgrounds grew from one at Adams Lyons to three including Jubilee Park and Orchard Close. Well over £200,000 has been spent on play equipment for those playgrounds.

Over half a million pounds in grants has been obtained from various sources during Roy’s time with the Council for the replacement Parish Centre, purchase of land, play equipment, environmental improvements and repairs and maintenance.

When Roy took up post, the Council’s reserves amounted to about £20,000 plus £64,000 that the Council had received for the sale of three building plots in Fenton Road. On Roy’s retirement, the Council’s reserves stood at £845,000 and the Council still had one of the smallest precepts of the larger parish councils in Huntingdonshire.

During that time, over 450 houses have been built in Warboys and the population increased by more than 16%.

Roy has written more than 8,000 receipts for money received. The number of allotments has increased from 18 to 50.

Cuts in County Council and District Council budgets have meant that more enquiries are now directed to the Parish Council and it’s become harder to get the County and District to maintain services.

Constants have been the landfill site and prospective developments in the village. The landfill site opened for tipping about 3 months after Roy started with planning permission for 5 years during which time it was to be filled and landscaped with sheep grazing on it. In practice, after 27 years, it’s still not finally closed. The Parish Council was also instrumental in stopping the tipping of hazardous waste at the landfill site which had been carried out without planning permission having been granted. Regular reviews of the Huntingdonshire Local Plan and Cambridgeshire Minerals and Waste Plan have resulted in constant battles against proposals for the village.

In the days of the Village of the Year competition, Warboys won the Cambridgeshire title 3 times (together with numerous categories), reaching the final in London in 2000. The Fairhaven Trophy remains in situ in the High Street, although currently being repaired, as Warboys was the last winner of the Cambridgeshire title when the competition closed.

When Roy started, the hours of employment were 17 per week on a salary of £5,000 per annum. These grew gradually over the years to 24 per week but most weeks, he worked in excess of those hours without pay as a contribution to the village. Roy’s wife Joyce’s help has been invaluable during Roy’s work as Clerk – Joyce did the accounts for all those years (without pay), answered the door and phone to enquiries, handed out keys, took payments, wrote receipts, etc. That also included their daughters when they lived at home. The family’s help has been invaluable to Roy during his work as Clerk.

From a personal perspective, I valued greatly Roy’s work for the Council in General and for me as Chairman in particular. He had an incredibly extensive knowledge of all things related to local government and always gave the Council sound advice. On one occasion I remember one Councillor challenging the information which Roy had provided for the Council. At which point, Roy left the meeting, disappeared into the office in the meeting room and came back with a very large document – he knew exactly where to find the information and the challenge was eclipsed abruptly.

Roy – these few words cannot possibly tell you how much you mean to me as Chairman, to the Councillors past and present and to the village of Warboys.

We are extremely lucky to have had you as our Clerk for 27 years. We promise to continue your excellent work and ensure that Warboys is a great place to live.

Chair Withams hands R Reeves his scroll as Freeman of Warboys
Chair Withams presents R Reeves with his scroll as Freeman of Warboys.
R Reeves and his wife are presented with retirement gifts by the WPC Chair.
From left to right J Reeves, R Reeves & Chair Withams. R Reeves and his wife are presented with retirement gifts by the Warboys Parish Council Chair.

Contact Information

Email – clerk@warboysparishcouncil.co.uk

Facebook – @WarboysParishCouncil

Telephone – 07985 771834 / 07985 771676

Parish Clerk