Vernon Coaker has been given the freedom of the borough after serving Gedling for 25 years as an MP.
Lord Coaker, now a peer, was awarded the honour at an extraordinary meeting of Gedling Borough Council last night (Thursday, June 17).
The award has been given to him for his services to the borough over the last 25 years.
During Lord Coaker’s extensive career as the MP for Gedling, he was elected six times and had several high profile government posts including the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Lord Coaker has also had roles on an international stage, supporting UNICEF and, more recently, raising the profile of Modern Slavery as a member of the Council of Europe.
As part of his role as the MP for Gedling, a position he held for 22 years, he was involved in the rebuilding of numerous schools and he was instrumental in bringing about the Gedling Access Road, Gedling Country Park and the Netherfield Lagoons. His work has supported the establishment of flood defences, infrastructure and regeneration projects.
By receiving the Honorary Freeman title, he joins a very special list. Only a handful of people have received this prestigious title, the last being the The Merchant Regiment and boxer, Carl Froch.
Deputy Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor Michael Payne proposed the induction of Lord Coaker at the ceremony last night.
He said: “Vernon Coaker has been an outstanding ambassador for the borough of Gedling, it is right that the Council recognises his achievements by awarding him with one of the highest honours that we can bestow. His work over the 22 years as the Member of Parliament for Gedling helped thousands of residents and the legacy of his work continues today, most recently, the opening of Colliery Way, a project that he championed for years and has now become a reality.
Lord Coaker’s current work in the House of Lords continues to change the lives of the people of Gedling and he remains one our community’s biggest and most passionate champions. On behalf of everyone at Gedling Borough Council, I would like to congratulate him on receiving the award of Honorary Freeman of the Borough.”
Lord Vernon Coaker said: “It is a huge honour to be receiving this title and it has been an even bigger honour to represent the people of Gedling at a national and local level for 22 years.
“The people of Gedling have always been my priority and I am proud to have stood up for local people especially when they needed it most.
“Gedling has so much to be proud of including the way the communities work together and stand together, the many organisations that work tirelessly to help others and to better where they live.
“People in Gedling have a great pride in where they are from and where they live.”