Helping young people earns Tunbridge Wells woman top City honour

Paul Apps Benenden Hospital

One of the longest established honours in the UK has been bestowed upon a Tunbridge Wells woman. Ema Saunders was given ‘Freedom of the City’ of London for her work on the education committee at the Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors.

The former Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar pupil, who lives with her husband in the new Knights Park development, said she was ‘incredibly flattered’ to receive the honour last week.

Mrs Saunders, who has worked at Savills estate agents for the past ten years, received the award at a ceremony attended by several friends and family members held in the City of London Guild Hall.

She was admitted as a ‘Freeman’ by Murray Craig, the Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court for the City Corporation.

Mrs Saunders said: “I was extremely flattered to be selected for the honour and to have my work recognised. I really am passionate about helping young people in their careers and trying to encourage more of them into the industry.”

The Freedom of the City is believed to have first been presented in 1237, making it one of the oldest traditional ceremonies in existence today. Originally used to bestow the rights of ‘Freeman’ upon a person – meaning they were no longer the property of a feudal lord and were thus allowed to own land and earn money themselves – it has since evolved into a purely ceremonial gesture of recognition.

Recipients have included Luciano Pavarotti, Yehudi Menuhin, Rupert Murdoch, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Annie Lennox, Sir Terry Wogan and Michael Vaughan.

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