Civic Honours presented at ceremony

Published Tuesday, 19th March 2024

Historic titles have been granted to individuals and organisations who have made a significant and sustained contribution to the Borough of Hartlepool.

Boxer Savannah Marshall, George Colley, Peter Bowes JP DL and the Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team have been awarded the Freedom of the Borough.

Carl Richardson and Lord Rob Cook have become Aldermen, while Sheila Griffin has had the title of Alderwoman bestowed upon her. Aldermen/Alderwoman titles can only be given to individuals who are either serving councillors or who have previously been councillors.

All of the awards were presented at a ceremony at Hartlepool Civic Centre on Monday (18th March).

Councillor Shane Moore, Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool, said: “All of the recipients are so deserving of their awards and I would to take this opportunity to congratulate them.

“Through dedication, commitment and sheer hard work, each has - in their own way - had a profound impact on Hartlepool and its residents and they have consistently helped to portray the Borough in a really positive light.

Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team, Sheila Griffin, George Colley, Peter Bowes and Carl Richardson with The Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, HBC Managing Director Denise McGuckin and the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool Cllr Shane Moore.

Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team, Sheila Griffin, George Colley, Peter Bowes and Carl Richardson with The Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, HBC Managing Director Denise McGuckin and the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool Cllr Shane Moore.

Savannah Marshall discovered boxing at the age of 12 and turned professional in 2017. She became WBO Middleweight World Champion in 2020 and in July 2023 she defeated Franchon Crews-Dezurn to become undisputed Super-Middleweight World Champion. She has and continues to be an inspiration to the young people of Hartlepool and has brought great honour to the town.

George Colley is well-known as a gifted musician, historian, artist and educator. He spent 20 years teaching music at Dyke House School before setting up his own business, Memory Lane Prints in Park Road which he ran for 16 years before retiring in 2007. For the last 36 years he has been Musical Director of the George Colley Singers as well as conductor of the Hartlepool Community Choir. The two choirs have now merged to become The Hartlepool Community Singers.

Peter Bowes has spent the last 40 years devoting his time and expertise to a host of Hartlepool charities, educational institutions and other organisations. He became a presiding magistrate in 2004, later serving as Chairman of the Bench. He is also an outstanding ambassador for training and skills, working tirelessly to improve opportunities for young people.

The Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team has a skill range which includes cliff rescues, water rescues and conducting searches. Each year, they respond to around 100 incidents. HM Coastguard also plays a key role locally working with the RNLI to promote water safety. Some of the team have been volunteering for over 12 years to help keep our coast safe for all.

Lord Rob Cook, a popular and well-respected figure, has always been a passionate advocate of Hartlepool and committed to improving the lives of all residents – irrespective of their background or circumstances. As a councillor on Hartlepool Borough Council, he served the Hart Ward from 2004-2012, the De Bruce Ward from 2012-2019 and Hart Ward again from 2021-2023. He was instrumental in securing millions of pounds of investment for Hartlepool and campaigned for better public services and more opportunities for young people.

Sheila Griffin was elected as a councillor on Hartlepool Borough Council in 1991 and quickly earned herself a deserved reputation as a hardworking and committed ward councillor – serving Brus Ward and then the re-named De Bruce Ward with distinction until she retired in 2016. Family, friends and political colleagues describe her as being a councillor who worked tirelessly with compassion and determination to improve the lives of local residents without ever seeking any kind of personal political advancement.

Praised for his integrity, empathy and persistence, Carl Richardson has shown outstanding commitment and service to the town and the people of Hartlepool for almost 40 years. His career in local government started in 1984 when he was elected to Cleveland County Council to represent Jackson Ward. He was elected as a Hartlepool Borough Councillor for the same ward in 1994 and his service on the authority continued unbroken for almost three decades until he stood down in 2022. These Hartlepool Borough Council years included time as Deputy Leader of the Labour Group and Chair of the Labour Group. He performed the key role of Chairman of the Council from 2002-2012.