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Honour for Alison: 'Focus on what brings us together'

Boston's newest honorary freeman has stressed the importance of volunteering, teamwork and positivity.

Alison Fairman, currently the chairman of Boston's gold award-winning in-bloom committee, told a packed council chamber: "Volunteering is very important to me; it is all about being a member of a team. Yes, we have challenges ahead in this time of austerity;  we have the same challenges as every other town, we are not unique in that.

"Let's not focus on what divides us, but let's focus on what brings us together. We have got to be positive in what we are and what we can do together.

"Thank you for these amazing gifts and thank you for this singular honour, I hope to be worthy of it."

The ceremony, attended by Boston Borough Councillors and Alison's family , friends and colleagues, was the first since 2006.

Cllr Claire Rylott, nominating Alison, gave details of Alison's active involvement  in the community since arriving in Boston in 1979.

A long list began with her work with Boston Citizens' Advice Bureau in 1980 through to the latest in-bloom gold award this year.

The official wording recognises "the significant contribution she has made to numerous organisations in the Borough area".

Cllr Rylott said: "It gives me the greatest pleasure to be able to nominate Alison. She is such a good role model as a volunteer in the community.

"Volunteers have always been a part of community life and the council has always welcomed their efforts. Some projects simply would not happen without volunteers, such as the army of helpers who turn out every year for the Big Boston Clean-up. Alison is one of those.

"In recent times work by volunteers has taken on a new importance. All of us from the borough council are only too aware of the increased importance in these times of austerity of the work of willing volunteers.

Alison, though, takes volunteering to a whole new level. She does it for all the best of reasons. She came to live in Boston by choice in 1979, and loves it. Ever since she has embraced all that Boston has to offer, and done everything she can to make it better. Also, by her own admission, she cannot sit on her hands.

"Alison will say, with typical modesty, that she is overwhelmed by this honour. I am overwhelmed by all she has done for Boston and to enhance its reputation. Boston needs more people like Alison Fairman. In fact I'd be happy to take any who only half match up."

Seconding the nomination Cllr Richard Austin said: "Alison stands out as someone very special - she is a one off. If anyone deserves the Freedom of the Borough it is Alison Fairman. She leads from the front and I don't think I have ever heard her say a bad word about anyone. She cares for the people, heritage, image, the look and the future of Boston and the borough."

Previously Alison had said: "I am overwhelmed by this honour. I came here with my family in 1979, choosing to live in Boston. The wonderful history and countryside appealed to us, having lived all over England and a spell in America. We knew this would be home.

"This remains a wonderful place to live and bring up a family. Three of my four children have returned because, like me, they believe in this town.

"Negativity breeds negativity; let's be positive and go forward."

Alison receives her gifts Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Alison, third from left, with her Honorary Freedom of the Borough scroll. From left, Mayoress Catharine Woodliffe, Mayor Cllr Stephen Woodliffe and the council's Chief Executive Phil Drury

Alison Fairman and family Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Alison Fairman with her proud husband, fourth from left, and family