Two well-known Aylesburians who are being made freemen of the town have told The Bucks Herald the award is a huge honour.
Former Aylesbury United player Emmerson Boyce and Friars Music Club promotor David Stopps were bestowed with the title of Honorary Freeman of the Parish of Aylesbury after a unanimous council vote.
The title – the highest honour the authority can give to an individual – is a demonstration of the council’s thanks for the pair’s outstanding commitment and contribution to the wellbeing of the town.
For more than 40 years, Aylesbury resident David Stopps has been responsible for the Friars Music Club and has managed a number of successful concerts in the town.
He’s currently hosting a hugely successful exhibition at the County Museum, which has been featured in the national press.
A town council spokesman said: “His achievements have put Aylesbury on the map for all the right reasons, and he is well respected for all he has done, and continues to do, for the town.”
David said: “The letter was a huge surprise. It is a great honour and really very kind of the council. If my mother were still alive, she would have been very proud. I know Aylesbury is supposed to be famous for its ducks, but I think the Friars Club exhibition highlighted the music.”
Aylesbury-born Emmerson Boyce is perhaps most famous for leading Wigan Athletic football Club to a remarkable victory in the FA Cup Final against Manchester City last year.
Boyce grew up in Elmhurst with his parents, Lucille and Melvin – who still live in the town – and attended Quarrendon Secondary School, where he set a number of athletics records.
He began playing football for his local team, Aylesbury United, at the age of ten – playing as a striker for two years before switching to his more familiar position in defence.
The town council has rewarded Mr Boyce for ‘his successful footballing career, and his positive example to young people in his commitment to pursuing his career – showing a clear message to young people that all things are achievable with determination, skills and endeavour’.
Emerson said: “It’s a great honour for me to be given this title. My parents and my grandma now have bigger smiles than ever on their faces.
“The whole town has watched my career progress and it’s great that they’re still supporting me. I’m proof that if you work hard enough, you can achieve your dream.”
The ceremony is on Friday.