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Honorary Freedom of the Borough conferred on Council Leader

Tuesday, 25 September 2018 10:55

The Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Douglas has been conferred on the Leader of the Council, Councillor David Christian MBE JP.


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The honour was bestowed at a special meeting of the Council held on Friday September 21 after Members unanimously agreed the motion, proposed by Councillor John Skinner and seconded by Councillor Claire Wells.


AFamily BSC0684 MediumCouncillor Christian with his mother and stepfather, Maureen and Keith Parley, and Murray Jones


Proposing the motion Councillor Skinner said Councillor Christian had ‘rendered eminent services to the town of Douglas and his commitment to its people is second to none’.


AFreeman BSC0770 MediumCouncillor Christian with fellow Freemen of he Borough Geoff Karran MBE and Councillor Raina Chatel


He went on to say that with more than 30 years’ experience in local politics Councillor Christian was ‘passionate’ about his home town where he was first elected Councillor for Hills Ward in November 1987 and where he has been successfully returned at each election since. Councillor Skinner added that in the 2012 and 2016 local authority elections Councillor Christian received the highest number of votes for any candidate across the Island.


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Councillor Skinner went on to trace Councillor Christian’s other achievements; notably being elected Mayor in Douglas Centenary Year, 1996; his role as a Justice of the Peace and as a Governor of University College Isle of Man and of Manor Park School; and being appointed MBE in 2013.


In closing he said that after Councillor Christian had been recognised by Her Majesty the Queen for services to the community and the people of Douglas it was ‘only right’ that the Council bestow upon him the Honorary Freedom of the Borough.


Seconding the motion Councillor Wells said that ‘at a time when localisation is very much to the fore, it is appropriate that we keep the theme this afternoon to honour a local and incredibly dedicated figure’.


Councillor Wells went on to refer to Councillor Christian becoming the first boy at Manor Park to be awarded the TE Cowell award for meritorious service; his youthful entrepreneurial ventures and ‘rescuing’ rejected plants then re-selling them, a practice that, in later life, saw him become a keen advocate of the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ approach to responsible waste management.


She also referred to his ‘tenacious personality’, not only in his role as Leader of the Council but also in his new-found exercise regime and, in closing, praised Councillor Christian for his ‘strong belief’ in duty and service and his ‘unalloyed pride’ in his home town.


In his reply Councillor Christian said he was ‘truly honoured’ and thanked his fellow Councillors for their unanimous vote, also his family and friends for their tireless support. The proceedings also provided the opportunity for Councillor Christian to thank officers and staff for their hard work in delivering the Council’s services to the people of Douglas.

He went on to offer a snapshot of his career in local politics, in particular his early involvement in social housing issues, and went on to illustrate some of the pivotal changes he had witnessed in his home town. He observed how the Council had developed into ‘a forward looking’ local authority with its Members, ‘Custodians of the Capital’, responsible for some £250 million in assets.


He continued: ‘While emails, phone calls and social media serve a purpose I remain a firm believer in face-to-face politics’ and he went on to say how he had always relished the challenge of a contested election, adding: ‘As Leader I am proud that the Council operates from a position of openness and democracy’.


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An illuminated address created by local artist Colleen Corlett was presented to Councillor Christian by His Worship the Mayor of Douglas, Councillor Jonathan Joughin JP. The address, which interwove elements of Councillor Christian’s life and work against a backdrop of an image of Douglas Town Hall, prompted him to close by saying: ‘This address is very personal to me as it portrays so much of what matters to me about the community of Douglas, of what I believe in and what I hold dearest to me; it will always take pride of place in my home.’