North East Connected

Forces and Veterans Stalwart Named Citizen of the Year

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 09.21.52A TIRELESS supporter of Middlesbrough’s service men, women and veterans has been named the town’s Citizen of the Year for 2015.

Ron Barber – a familiar face as standard bearer at countless events over many years – received the accolade at a special ceremony at Middlesbrough Town Hall on Wednesday (April 6).

He was nominated for the honour Anthony Longstaff of Acklam, who described him as an ‘exceptional person’.

Mr Longstaff wrote: “A substantial number of family members and friends of deceased service and veteran military personnel – too numerous to mention – have benefited from his good work.”

The 96-year-old has given many years of dedicated service to the community, and has worked closely with the Council on all civic engagements involving the armed forces including Remembrance Sunday, Freedom Parades and Battle of Britain commemorations.

He has received a letter from the Queen, recognising the fact that he is the oldest standard bearer in England.

In addition to his role of standard bearer, Ron also arranges the standards at the funerals of serving military personnel and ex forces veterans in the Cleveland area.

He works closely with and supports the families of the bereaved, as well as with local funeral directors and with military personnel to ensure that the deceased are appropriately honoured.

Ron was the treasurer of the Cleveland Combined Services Association from its foundation until he retired in 2004 at the age of 84.  Since then, he has served as its President.

He is married to Dorothy and they have a daughter, Joan, and two grandsons named Paul and Steven.

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd, who presented Ron with his award at a reception in the Town Hall on Wednesday, said: “Middlesbrough has long and proud links with the armed services, but those links can only be maintained by the sort of people who are prepared to go the extra mile.

“There is no better example of that tireless commitment than Ron Barber, and that is why he was our unanimous choice as Middlesbrough’s Citizen of the Year.

“Over the years he has earned the respect of a great many people for his caring and his unstinting enthusiasm for what he does.

“He has made an outstanding contribution to his community, and this award is fully deserved recognition of the sort of selfless dedication that truly makes a difference.”

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