Town stalwart receives Freedom of Saffron Walden honour
PUBLISHED: 13:39 21 July 2012
IT was a momentous occasion in Saffron Walden's history this week when councillors granted the freedom of the town to a man who has played a huge part in community life.
Former town clerk Malcolm White became the first person ever to receive the accolade from councillors, who are now able to award the honour following a change in the law.
Mr White, of Victoria Gardens, served the town and its people for over 34 years and played a vital part in some of its biggest ever projects.
He and his wife Kate also helped raise £175,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) following the loss of their youngest son Tom, who died of cancer at the age of 23.
The couple set an aim of raising £1 from every person in Saffron Walden – a target they ended up surpassing 10-fold.
Mr White told the Reporter he was privileged to receive the award following an emotional ceremony in the Town Hall with friends and family on Monday evening.
“I am very honoured the council has decided to make this award, which is a reflection of the town’s great community spirit and its charitable nature,” he said.
“Whenever tragedy occurs, whether national, local or personal you only have to ask the town and the town responds.
“Tonight is not about me, it is about the town and the marvellous community we have here, and the support and kindness shown by everybody.”
Mr White also said his wife deserved the award as much as he did.
“The role of town clerk is 24/7 and not once did Kate fail to support me. She also led the charity drive to raise money for the TCT,” he added.
Saffron Walden mayor David Watson said he expected Mr White to be one of very few people who would receive the accolade.
“We only call these meetings for issues of great importance to this town and this is no exception,” said Cllr Watson.
“Malcolm has had a large part in keeping Saffron Walden a jewel in the crown and rightly seen as a part of the heritage that is England.
“During his time in office we estimate he has attended over 2,000 committee meetings, seen Saffron Walden double in size and has played a vital part of some of the biggest projects undertaken by the town.”