Freedom of the Town honours bestowed on trio - including historic boat
- Credit: Rob Howarth Photography
It is one of the nation’s most important historic ships.
And the popular Lowestoft-based sailing smack Excelsior was celebrating this week after receiving a special double honour, normally reserved for people.
For the first time since its formation in 2017, Lowestoft Town Council has conferred the title of Freedom of the Town to three recipients - with Honorary Freeman Awards set to be awarded later this summer.
The awards have been bestowed on Lowestoft sailing trawler Excelsior LT472, John Wylson - a founder member of the Excelsior Trust - and historian Chris Brooks.
A Lowestoft town council spokesman said: "While not a regular activity of the town council, the council may choose to confer the title on persons who have rendered eminent services to Lowestoft or to organisations and objects of distinction that are linked to the town."
On Saturday, June 19, the Mayor of Lowestoft Alan Green attended the ‘Lowestoft 1945: The Year the Lights Came Back On’ event at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre to inform Mr Brooks that he had been awarded Freedom of the Town of Lowestoft.
Nominated by the Lowestoft Evacuee Association, the award recognises Mr Brooks’ dedicated contribution to the Association over the past 30 years.
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For maritime sailing icon Excelsior LT472 it was double delight as the much-loved historic ship and her locally based rescuer, John Wylson, were both awarded ‘Freedom of The Town of Lowestoft’ honours in recognition of their activities.
In Excelsior’s instance this is the first time the council has awarded a Freedom honour to something other than a person.
A chartered architect and sailor, Mr Wylson found and rescued Excelsior in Norway where she was working as a ‘motor coaster’ and in 1972 brought the vessel back to Lowestoft.
He set up The Excelsior Trust to restore her back to her original condition, securing funding and manpower for completing the restoration.
Mr Wylson said: “This means a great deal to me.
"I am delighted and honoured on their behalf to be given the Freedom of the Town”.
Excelsior chairman Jamie Campbell: “We are, of course, thrilled that Lowestoft has recognised the importance of the ship as a lasting memorial of the area’s maritime heritage and hope that this will encourage the local community to support and be proud of this remarkable centenarian."