Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is to confer the Honorary Freedom of the Borough on Joan Christie CVO OBE, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for the County of Antrim.
Councillors agreed on the prestigious award to the Queen’s official representative at a meeting of the local authority last year.
And council has now announced the official conferment ceremony will take place at The Braid in Ballymena on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
The Mayor, Cllr Paul Reid, said: “The Freedom of the Borough is the highest accolade council can award a citizen. Since Mrs Christie was appointed Lord-Lieutenant, she has been an incredible representative of Her Majesty and a tireless ambassador for our area.
“Mrs Christie is a true friend of the people of Mid and East Antrim and this award is recognition of all her hard work and commitment to our borough. She is unwavering in her support for our people and this council and exudes warmth and kindness at every one of her many personal engagements. We look forward to honouring a truly outstanding individual for her remarkable public service.”
Cllr Billy Ashe’s motion back in August read: “That this council confers the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Mid and East Antrim on Mrs Joan Christie CVO OBE. This award is in recognition of Mrs Christie’s commitment and service as Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for the County of Antrim. Through her service, Mrs Christie has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to County Antrim, and an outstanding contribution to Mid and East Antrim.”
Welcoming the date for the ceremony, Mr Ashe said: “I have had the privilege of serving terms as Mayor of the old Carrickfergus Borough Council and also the first Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and I have witnessed first-hand Mrs Christie’s devotion and dedication to the people of our borough and County Antrim.
“Mrs Christie has a dedication that should be set as an example to all in public service. Mrs Christie has also shown unique ability to help us all look at the bigger picture, bringing us all together and focused on a County Antrim basis.”
The motion was seconded by another former first citizen, Cllr Audrey Wales MBE.
Cllr Wales said: “I have known Mrs Christie for many years and was delighted when she was appointed to serve as Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant in September of 2008. I always knew Mrs Christie was exceptionally busy and committed to her role. However, during my terms as Mayor of our predecessor council of Ballymena and last year as Mayor of Mid and East Antrim I discovered just how busy she really is. Her dedication is inspiring, in particular how supportive she is of all the community groups and young people across the county.”