The rare honour of the Freedom of the City of Ripon has been bestowed upon a woman who has contributed to community life for more than three decades.
An extraordinary meeting of Ripon City Council – attended by civic dignitaries from neighbouring towns – was held on Monday to give the accolade to Connie Birkinshaw in recognition of her services to the city for more than 30 years.
Miss Birkinshaw becomes one of a select few of living individuals to be so honoured and joins His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, as an Honorary Freeman of the City of Ripon.
During her time in politics, she was the third lady to ever serve as the mayor of the city.
The community fundraiser and former councillor is also the life president of Ripon Council of Voluntary Services and patron of its operatic society.
The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Mick Stanley, said: “It’s an honour to give Connie the Freedom of the City in recognition of a selfless life of service to the many organisations and projects she has been involved with, from CVS to the Cathedral Millennium cushions, and from the city council to Ripon Amateur Operatic Society.
“On receiving the Honorary Freedom she joins a very select band of people – Michael Abrahams, Bob Britton, John Richmond, HRH the Prince of Wales and three organisations – the Corps of Royal Engineers, the Chapter of Ripon Cathedral and RAF Topcliffe – who are Honorary Freemen.”