Edith Ridgway Willaston Honorary Freewoman 2

Willaston Parish Council has granted the title of Honorary Freewoman to resident Edith Ridgway.

The honour is in recognition of the 100-year-old’s services to fundraising and the community.

A presentation of the certificate and badge took place with Edith and her family at Brookfield House in Nantwich yesterday (July 3)

Chairman of Willaston Parish Council Cllr Craig Bailey said at the event: “The Honorary Freeman and Freewoman title is the highest honour an individual can receive from local government.

“With this honour comes a long tradition of formal respect for the individual and recognition for distinction.”

Edith has been active in the community for most of her adult life. Her volunteering spans 80 years with many organisations and causes.

Born in Wybunbury in 1921, Her volunteering began in 1936 when she became a Sunday School teacher.

In the late 1940s she moved to Moorfields, Willaston with her husband Bill and two children, where she lived until April this year.

Edith Ridgway Willaston Honorary Freewoman
Edith Ridgway, Willaston Honorary Freewoman

Her volunteering in Willaston started in 1952 when she became a member of the Willaston Coronation Committee.

Fundraising has been a key theme and passion throughout her life.

In 1965, she was one of the first members of the congregation at St Luke’s Church, which opened in October of that year.

Ever since she has been involved in Christmas Fayres and coffee mornings to help raise funds for St Luke’s.

For many years she was a familiar face at Willaston Working Men’s Club, now Willaston Social Club, and is its longest member.

She was often seen raising funds for the club – leading on the bingo evenings and raffles.

In the late 1990s St John’s Tea Club was established and Edith became a regular at their gatherings right up until lockdown.

She was active in promoting the monthly bring and buy and helped serving other residents, many of whom were many years younger.

Her biggest single contribution has been with the Royal British Legion and the Poppy Appeal – which is something she has done for most of her life.

In 1950, the Willaston Branch of the Royal British Legion was formed, Edith soon became active in the women’s section and remained so until its disbandment in the 1990s, when members were transferred to the Nantwich and District Branch.

Her first formal recognition from the Poppy Appeal was in 1970.

Others followed and in 1998 she was awarded for outstanding service and was described as “being a source of inspiration and encouragement for her many years of service”.

In 2015, she received a long service medal for an incredible 60 years of volunteering for the Poppy Appeal.

She continued to actively collect within the community until only a few years ago in her mid-90s, but she then displayed poppy posters in her lounge window – encouraging residents to knock on her door and donate to the cause which is very close to her heart.

Cllr Bailey added: “This is a level of dedication and length of volunteering which is extraordinary, and she has without-a-doubt made a positive impact on enriching the lives of veterans, and the people of Willaston for over 65 years.”

Edith Ridgway Willaston Honorary Freewoman 3

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