The highest honour the City of London can bestow has just been received by a Bridlington woman.
Clare Parker, 41, who was born and educated in the town where her parents still live, joins an exclusive club of the worthy and the famous who have been given the Honorary Freedomn of the City. The ancient right dates back to the 1600s. In recent years some of its more famous recipients are Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela, Dame Judi Dench, Annie Lennox, Stephen Fry, Sir Ian McKellen, Mary Berry, Placido Domingo, and Fiona Bruce. There are many more from all walks of life among the 1800 of so new Freeman admitted each year for achieving success, recognition or celebrity in their chosen field.
Modest about her honour, Clare, married and now living in Surrey, said it followed her becoming a Freeman of the Guild of Public Relations Practitioners in February this year and described the City honour as being a form of ceremonial progression. She now works as a Civil Servant for the Ministry of Defence.
“It is wonderful to get the recognition which basically means you are good at your trade or profession,” she said.
It is a long way away from the former Hilderthope and later Bridlington School pupil who had a keen interest in anything to do with communication, particularly broadcasting. In her teens Clare got a much coveted “Blue Peter Badge” and with a schoolfriend was a winner of the TV game show Blockbuster”.
She also showed musical talen as a violinist with the County Youth Orchestra. A spell on Bridlington Hospital Radio saw her hosting her own programme.
Media studies followed at Humberside University but she left before completing her course to join the AA becoming part of the AA Roadwatch team producing and presenting traffic news for radio broadcast.
In the late 1990s Clare was involved in setting up and then acting as a breakfast time presenter on a Manchester commercial radio station before moving to London to take up a post with the Civil Service. Apart from the prestiege, becoming a Freeman of the City of London will mean she said she can now be involved in a broader spectrum of charity work which the Freemen of the City are involved in. Other benefits of the ancient order, should she ever need them, mean she can drive her sheep over London Bridge and never be press-ganged into the Navy.