The last item was “Freedom of the Borough” ceremony where 5 people “in recognition of their distinguished service to the borough of Newham” were awarded as Honorary Freemen and Women. First was Police Commander Nick Bracken OBE, then Frances Clarke (Newham Community Links); Marie Gabriel (Newham Primary Care Trust), Michael Grier (Tate & Lyle) and Jack Petchy OBE (former East Ham fruit and vegetables delivery boy turned multi-millionaire philanthropist). Frances Clarke hoped her award will inspire young women “to overcome the barriers and crush them”. There has only been 11 Honorary Freemen created in Newham since 1965.
Although there was the inevitable jokes about whether or not being made a Honorary Freeman (or women!) entitled you to drive your livestock along East Ham High Street without paying any tolls - I think that it is very "good thing" that the borough publicly recognises the contribution of those who have served the community.