St Helens Council bestows honours on hospital and former councillors

St Helens Borough Council is honouring the incredible efforts of NHS staff by awarding St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Honorary Freedom of the Borough.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 7:57 am
St Helens Hospital

The recognition will be jointly made by the council alongside Knowsley Council in honour of the dedicated staff who have supported those in need in challenging circumstances this year.

In a joint statement Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council, and Councillor Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been life changing for us all over the last year. We have seen incredible suffering, sacrifice and challenges and nowhere is this more evident than in our local hospitals.

“Since last March, teams at St Helens and Whiston hospitals have worked tirelessly to care for people when they needed it most. This doesn’t just include those struck down with Covid-19 – which in itself has been an achievement. It also includes support for those with long term illnesses like cancer, those needing treatment, surgery or rehabilitation or mothers giving birth – the list goes on.

“The challenge has been enormous, but the hospitals have not faltered in their service to the community and the staff delivering that important care have dug deep, made their own personal sacrifices and been there when our residents have needed them.

“With the unanimous support from our colleagues across Knowsley and St Helens we want to formally recognise this service and nominate St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to become Honorary Freeman of the boroughs of St Helens and Knowsley.

“This is the highest honour we can bestow on any organisation or individual and we hope this goes some way in showing our collective appreciation.”

The freedom of the borough call will come to April’s Full Council meeting.

At the same meeting an appointment for Freedom of the Borough will also be awarded to Lord Dave Watts, who is the former council leader, was MP for St Helens North from 1995 to 2015 and was made a lord in 2015.

Alongside the hospital honour four former councillors have all been made Honarary Aldermen and Alderwomen of the borough after approval at a special council meeting.

Keith Deakin, Joe De’Asha, Pat Ireland and Keith Roberts all had the honours bestowed on them

Keith Deakin was a councillor for Earlestown for 33 years before his retirement in 2019 and served as mayor in 1995/96.

Joe De’Asha served as a borough councillor in Rainhill for 28 years and 32 years as a parish councillors including serving as chair twice in that time. He served as a chairman on a number of council committees over the years and spent some time as a cabinet member for environment.

Pat Ireland retired from the council in 2019 after spending her final year as Mayor of St Helens. She initially served as a councillor for four years from 1998 to 2002 before taking a break from service until 2011 when she was elected to represent the Thatto Heath ward.

She also served on a number of council committees including chair of adult social care overview and scrutiny.

Keith Roberts served for 26 years as a councillor for Blackbrook, Broad Oak and Parr over that time. He served as Mayor of St Helens from 2001/02 as well as chairing planning and standards committee at different times.

Speaking of their honours Councillor David Baines said: “This is highly deserved recognition for Keith Deakin, Joe De’Asha, Pat Ireland and Keith Roberts and their many years of service.

"They have individually given so much to the communities they have served and enriched the lives of so many through their charity fund-raising.

"They are great examples of devoting their time to helping make other people’s lives better and this honour helps us to celebrate their dedication and service to residents.”