Edith Ridgway Conferred the title of Honorary Freewoman
Following on from the extraordinary meeting of the Council on the 29th June 2021 where Mrs Edith Ridgway was conferred the title of Honorary Freewoman. A private presentation was made on Saturday 3rd July 2021 at Brookfield House where Mrs Ridgway now resides. Her son and daughter in law were present.
Cllr Craig Bailey prior to presenting the certificate and badge, addressed those present with some information on Mrs Ridgway achievements as below.
“The Honorary Freeman and Freewoman title is the highest honour an individual can receive from local government. With this honour comes a long tradition of formal respect for the individual and recognition for distinction.
Mrs Edith Ridgway is well known within the area and has been active in the community for most of her adult life. Her volunteering spans 80 years with many organisations and causes.
Born in Wybunbury in 1921, Her volunteering began in 1936 when she became a Sunday School teacher. In the late 1940’s she moved to Moorfields, Willaston with her husband Bill and two children, where she lived until April of this year.
Her volunteering in Willaston commenced in 1952 when she became a member of the Willaston Coronation Committee, and she was active in collecting for the day of celebrations on the 2nd June 1953. Fundraising has been a key theme and passion throughout her life.
In 1965 Mrs Ridgway was one of the first members of the congregation at St Luke’s Church, which opened in October of that year. Over the following five decades she was involved in the Christmas Fayres and Coffee Mornings to help raise funds for St Luke’s.
For many years she was a familiar face at Willaston Working Men’s Club, now Willaston Social Club, and is its longest member. She was often seen raising funds for the Club - leading on the bingo evenings and raffles.
In the late 1960s/early 1970s she became a founding member of the Catering Committee and ensured quality refreshments were provided at hundreds of events over a 40-year period.
In the late 1990s St John’s Tea Club was established and Mrs Ridgway became a regular at their gatherings right up until lockdown. She was active in promoting the monthly bring and buy and helped serving other residents, many of whom were many years younger than she was!
However, her biggest single contribution with an organisation has been with the Royal British Legion and the Poppy Appeal – which is something she has done for most of her life.
In 1950 the Willaston Branch of the Royal British Legion was formed, Mrs Ridgway soon became active in the women’s section and remained so until it’s disbandment in the 1990s, when members were transferred to the Nantwich and District Branch.
Her first formal recognition from the Poppy Appeal was in 1970. Others followed and in 1998 she was awarded for outstanding service and was described as “being a source of inspiration and encouragement for her many years of service”.
In 2015 she received a long service medal for an incredible 60 years of volunteering for the Poppy Appeal. She continued to actively collect within the community until only a few years ago in her mid-90s, but she then displayed poppy posters in her lounge window - encouraging residents to knock on her door and donate to the cause which is very close to her heart.
This is a level of dedication and length of volunteering which is extraordinary, and she has without-a-doubt made a positive impact on enriching the lives of veterans, and the people of Willaston for over 65 years.
On behalf of the Council, I take great pleasure in declaring that Mrs Edith Ridgway has been granted the title of Honorary Freewoman in recognition of services to fundraising and the community”.