Mike Cartwright, who for 26 years was a councillor in Hammersmith & Fulham, has been given the council's ultimate accolade, Freedom of the Borough.
He has also been appointed Honorary Alderman of the Borough, in recognition of a lifetime of public service.
Alderman Cartwright, who stepped down as a councillor at the 2018 elections, represented Hammersmith Broadway ward, rising to the position of Deputy Leader of the Council.
In his final elected year, he was the Mayor.
The presentation was made at a short ceremony at Hammersmith Town Hall on Wednesday night (27 February).
During his time at H&F Council, Mike was instrumental in fighting for the rights of tenants and leaseholders.
“I have known Mike Cartwright for 24 years, and his contributions to the local community, this council and London are beyond compare,” said Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.
“Mike has made many friends across our borough, and won the respect of many more. I think it’s fair to say we are all very proud of Mike and thankful everything he has achieved for our residents. He is a good man who has dedicated his life to public service. And, in his retirement from public service, he is more than deserving of the Freedom of this borough.”
In being granted Freedom of the Borough, the Alderman joins a small club which includes George Cohen, the World Cup winner and Fulham FC ambassador, and the borough’s Territorial Army regiment, the Royal Yoemanry.
“I thank everyone for their kind words tonight,” he said, accepting the honour. “I’d also like to thank everyone who’s come tonight, including my former Mayoress, Rosemary Pettit, and the residents from Queen Caroline Estate and St Paul’s Court.”
Highest civic honour
The conferring of the Freedom of the Borough is the highest civic distinction that can be bestowed on people of distinction, in recognition of outstanding service to Hammersmith & Fulham.
The title of Honorary Aldermen or Alderwomen is awarded in recognition of eminent services given to the council, and can only be awarded to a former councillor.
Alderman Cartwright has devoted much of his life to public service. Prior to his election to H&F Council, he was a councillor in Ipswich for 12 years, and on Suffolk County Council for five years.
Away from his municipal service, Alderman Cartwright is known by many as an enthusiastic and supportive governor of three schools in the borough since 1992: Flora Gardens Primary School, Sacred Heart High School, and Larmenier & Sacred Heart Primary School.
He was one of the Council’s representatives to the Mortlake Crematorium Board from 2004 to 2018, having chaired the Board for nine years. He also served on the board of the Western Riverside Waste Authority.
In 2016, he stepped down as Bench Chairman at Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court after 13 years as a magistrate.
He was also Deputy Chairman of Central London Magistrates, covering the three merged benches of West London, City of Westminster and City of London. He was admired by many in local legal circles as a fair and wise chairman.
Shirley Cupit, chair of the Queen Caroline Estate’s Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “We truly valued Mike's loyalty and support. He was ever-present at our association surgeries and general meetings, and always had sound knowledge and advice to impart. It really felt like he would stand by us when times were tough.”
Another admirer, Daphine Aikens, Chief Executive of H&F Foodbank, added: “Mike truly understood the importance of our work. We were very grateful he chose us as one of his charities and he helped raise much-needed funds for us when he was Mayor. We all wish we had more time to work with him.”
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