A FORMER Mayor of Warrington has highlighted his ‘many happy memories’ after he received a prestigious honour following almost 40 years of services to the borough.

In April, Mike Hannon received the prestigious title of honorary freeman of Warrington.

He received the honour at an extraordinary meeting of the council following a proposal put forward by council leader Cllr Russ Bowden.

During the full council meeting at the Parr Hall on Monday, a recognition event was held to confirm the honorary freeman status for Mr Hannon.

He said being Mayor of Warrington was a ‘great occasion’ for him.

Mr Hannon also said Warrington becoming a unitary authority was a ‘great step forward’ for the town, adding that it has gone from strength to strength ever since.

He added: “There are many, many happy memories I’ll go away with and my children and grandchildren will remember those things – little mementos throughout the town of Warrington while I’ve been here.”

Born and raised in Warrington, Mike attended Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School. Then, after finishing his education, he ran a business in the town.

He was first elected to the council on May 5, 1983, serving until May 6, 2021 – a period of 38 years. This made Mike one of the longest-serving councillors on the council at the time of his retirement.

During the 1994-95 civic year, Mike served as the mayor of Warrington. He took this opportunity as the civic head of the borough to foster long-lasting relationships focused on peace and reconciliation with organisations across Ireland, in particular Crewe United and Lisburn Council (now Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council).

Mike served as deputy leader of the council from 2011 to 2016. During this time, he was responsible for the town centre, retail economy, corporate property and the Staff Joint Consultative Committee, where he passionately supported council staff to enable them to carry out their duties for the town.

In November 2016, Mike was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Warrington Guardian Inspiration Awards in recognition of his work in the community over a period of 30-plus years.

Furthermore, a community leader says he is extremely grateful after receiving a special honour.

Hasan Kazi – who has dedicated more than 20 years to bringing Warrington communities together, after arriving in the town from India – received the title of honorary citizen in April.

And at the full council meeting on Monday, a recognition event was held to confirm the special accolade.

It is given to people who are not born and raised in the borough, but whose actions mark them out as having made a particular contribution to the town.

Moving to Warrington in 2000, Hasan has spent the past two decades serving the local community with passion and dedication.

He has served on a wide range of organisations, including the chairman of Warrington Ethnic Communities Association (WECA), founding member of Warrington’s Council of Faiths, founding member of the Warrington Voluntary Acton Board, chairman of Warrington Community Law Centre, board member of Older People’s Engagement Centre and board member of Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

An important contribution made by Hasan is his key role in the creation of events such as the annual MELA festival, which brings together all communities, with entertainment, activities and food, celebrating and raising awareness of many cultures and traditions.

He said: “I can’t explain what privilege I have gained today from the community of Warrington.

“I am extremely grateful for all the people of Warrington for giving me this honour.”