The Worshipful the Mayor of Boston, Cllr Frank Pickett, Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam and Joint Chief Executive, Robert Barlow

The first Freedom of the Borough honour to be issued since 2016 has been awarded to Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, who has been recognised for his achievements in supporting the country throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

At a special Full Council meeting which was held at Boston United Football Club Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam was awarded Honorary Freedom of the Borough of his hometown of Boston, by the Worshipful the Mayor of Boston, Councillor Frank Pickett. In attendance were guests invited by Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam.

Professor Van-Tam has been ever-present throughout the pandemic and has become familiar to households across the country, regularly appearing as part of the Government’s Covid-19 briefings. Alongside this Professor Van-Tam has continued to play an active role in his hometown during the pandemic. In addition to his well-documented support for local club Boston United, he also recently returned to take part in talks with schools across the Borough and helped to roll out the Covid-19 vaccination through the ‘grab a jab’ initiative at the town’s Princess Royal Sports Arena vaccination centre.

The Worshipful the Mayor of Boston, Councillor Frank Pickett, said: “We’re incredibly grateful for the work that Professor Van-Tam has done over the past two years in helping respond to the pandemic, he has played an incredibly important part of the country’s response and has arguably become one of the most recognisable people in the country. The Honorary Freedom of Boston is the perfect way to recognise those contributions and his ongoing support for the town.

“Once you are awarded the freedom of the borough you are allowed to drive your sheep over the Town Bridge and into the Market Place. Good luck with that.”

Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, said: “This honour is actually really, really significant to me because it’s the highest honour of the borough that Boston can give to anyone or any organisation. It’s just a very humbling experience for your own town to do this to you.

“It has been a privilege serving this country in such a difficult time and something I do not regret for one single second.

“I don’t feel worthy of this accolade so it’s deeply humbling and shocking to receive the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Boston.”

Leader of the Council, Councillor Paul Skinner, said: “Sir Jonathan Van-Tams involvement in our borough and across the country this part few years especially have been a great source of pride for Boston and his advice and guidance has played a vital role in protecting and reassuring our town and the wider nation, which has made him a national treasure.”


Freedom of the Borough

Freedom of the Borough is a high honour which is only awarded in exceptional circumstances where the prospective recipient is an individual or organisation of distinction that has rendered eminent services to the Borough. Having demonstrated outstanding achievements in the Borough and/or on the international stage which have brought pride and satisfaction to the Borough.