Jonathan Van Tam ‘shocked’ to receive accolade in his home town of Boston

Professor Sir Jonathan Van has been awarded freedom of the borough for his hometown of Boston - an honour which has left him ‘deeply humbled and shocked’.

Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam with his Freedom of the Borough Award (centre), pictured with Boston Mayor Coun Frank Pickett and Boston Borough Council joint chief executive, Robert Barlow.
Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam with his Freedom of the Borough Award (centre), pictured with Boston Mayor Coun Frank Pickett and Boston Borough Council joint chief executive, Robert Barlow.

England’s deputy chief medical officer was handed the accolade by Boston Borough Council in recognition of his achievements in supporting the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At a full council meeting held at Boston United Football Club, Professor Van Tam was awarded Honorary Freedom of the Borough by the Mayor of Boston, Coun Frank Pickett.

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Coun Pickett said: “We’re incredibly grateful for the work that Professor Van-Tam has done over the past two years in helping respond to the pandemic.

Boston Mayor Coun Frank Pickett hands over the scroll and medal to Prof Sir Jonathan Van Tam.

“He has played an incredibly important part of the country’s response and has arguably become one of the most recognisable people in the country. The Honorary Freedom of Boston is the perfect way to recognise those contributions and his ongoing support for the town.

“Once you are awarded the freedom of the borough you are allowed to drive your sheep over the Town Bridge and into the Market Place. Good luck with that.”

Prof Sir Van-Tam said: “This honour is actually really, really significant to me because it’s the highest honour of the borough that Boston can give to anyone or any organisation.

“It’s just a very humbling experience for your own town to do this to you.

Prof Sir Jonathan Van Tam gives a speech at the full council meeting of Boston Borough Council.

“It has been a privilege serving this country in such a difficult time and something I do not regret for one single second.

“I don’t feel worthy of this accolade so it’s deeply humbling and shocking to receive the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Boston.”

Professor Van-Tam has been ever-present throughout the pandemic and has become familiar to households across the country, regularly appearing as part of the Government’s Covid-19 briefings.

Alongside this Professor Van-Tam has continued to play an active role in his hometown during the pandemic.

In addition to his well-documented support for local club Boston United, he also recently returned to take part in talks with schools across the Borough and helped to roll out the Covid-19 vaccination through the ‘grab a jab’ initiative at the town’s Princess Royal Sports Arena vaccination centre.

Leader of the Council, Coun Paul Skinner, said: “Sir Jonathan Van-Tam’s involvement in our borough and across the country this part few years especially have been a great source of pride for Boston.His advice and guidance has played a vital role in protecting and reassuring our town and the wider nation, which has made him a national treasure.”

Back in January Prof Sir Van Tam announced he would be stepping down from his government role as England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the end of March.

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