LEIGH’s charity pioneer David Stanley was awarded the Freedom of the City in July for his tireless work promoting musical education for people with learning disabilities.
Founder and CO of The Music Man Project and the UK’s Disability and Accessibility Ambassador for arts and culture, was honoured alongside former councillor Andrew Moring, who was made an honorary alderman.
Both nominations were given unanimous support by councillors in March, in what was described by the leader of the council, Coun Tony Cox, as: “The easiest decision this chamber will make.”
Southend City Council chamber erupted in celebratory applause on the night of Thursday 20 July as David Stanley received the Freedom in front of his friends, family, MP’s, councillors and guests.
Accepting his Freedom of the City award, Mr Stanley paid tribute to his parents, his wife and children, his Music Man family, and also the late Sir David Amess.
He said: “This is an opportunity for me to say thank you.
“I have a huge team behind me who do amazing work, but most importantly, thank you to all of the Music Man students, they are an inspiration and inspirational for this great City.
“Sir David was a dear friend and a champion of this City. He encouraged and supported me to believe in myself and it is both tragic and inspirational that what we’ve experienced since that awful day, would make him so proud. We owe it to his legacy to keep going.
“I believe Southend is the most accessible and inclusive City in the world and now, we have our global ambassadors through the Music Man project, but no matter how big the project gets, Southend will always be home.”
The Music Man Project will be returning to the Royal Albert Hall on April 8, 2024 to perform with the The Band of His Majesty’s Royal Marines, musicians from all across the country and their patron Michael Ball.
During the council meeting, Andrew Moring was also recognised as honorary alderman, following over two decades of dedicated service as ward councillor for Eastwood.
Ironically the honorary alderman process is something that was introduced by Mr Moring when he was Mayor in 2015/16 and incorporated into the constitution.
Accepting his award, he said: “It’s an unexpected honour to be given another opportunity to speak in this chamber.
“I’m sure you’ll all be relieved to know that an honorary title gives me no rights to attend or to speak at Council meetings.
“Alderman dates back to Anglo Saxon times and it literally means older man and I certainly fit that role. This honour makes me and my family very proud.”
To find out more about The Music Man Project, visit: themusicmanproject.com.
Picture: David Stanley received the Freedom of the City.
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