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Two Hertford citizens presented with Honorary Freedom of Hertford

Posted in Press Release

Hertford Town Councillors agreed at their Full Council Meeting on 30th October 2023 to make the award to Peter Ruffles MBE and Janet Bird BEM to recognise the positive impact that their many years of work has brought to people’s lives.

The Mayor of Hertford, Cllr Vicky Smith, who made presentation at a special commemoration on Friday 15th December 2023, said ‘I am delighted that we have been able to honour Peter Ruffles and Janet Bird in this way. Janet and Peter have for decades dedicated their time for the good of others in Hertford’.

Peter Ruffles MBE retired in May 2023 following 16 years on Hertfordshire County Council, 47 years serving East Herts District Council and 42 years on Hertford Town Council. His simultaneous roles amount to more than a century of public service. He served twice as the Mayor of Hertford. He worked tirelessly to respond to the needs of the community, undertaking charity work and volunteering for many organisations. His many roles included being an assembly member at Victim Support, a lay observer at the police and then a lay observer of prisoner care.

Peter said ‘Representing communities is about getting little things right, not big statements.
I'm most proud of the smaller things: getting play areas a lick of paint; listening to people at a more humble level than we do during the election campaigns and when I was Chairman of East Herts Council visiting all the 70 Church of England parish churches in East Herts as well as Catholic and Non-Conformist congregations for a service, to recognise the church role in our society in support of community well-being’.

For over 30 years Janet Bird BEM has served the community in Hertford. Since 1992 she has been responsible for organising the Christmas Alone Scheme, ensuring that those who are lonely, alone or elderly have a delicious full Christmas meal on Christmas Day itself. Since 1993 she has been an administrator of the Hertfordshire Convalescent Trust, a registered charity providing grants for needy people in Hertfordshire for convalescent and recuperative holidays.

Between 1994 and 2012 she was an advisor at Hertford Citizens’ Advice Bureau. She has undertaken a number of roles for the Church including Chair of Hertford and District Churches Together, Vice Chair of the Board for Church and Society, and Church Warden and Lay reader at All Saints Church.
Janet said ‘Over the 40 years that we have lived in Hertford it has been a privilege to work with so many people in the community and to do what I can to try to help enrich the lives of those who are sometimes forgotten or who need some extra support, when life is difficult’.

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