HE WASN’T well enough to accept the citation himself but a simple ceremony yesterday has bestowed the city’s highest honour on noted local historian Warren Newman.
Dr Newman, 75, is the newest Freeman of the City, an historic civic citation only ever presented to 10 others in the entire history of Tamworth.
But the man who has called Tamworth home since 1990 and become the most recent custodian of our past was too ill yesterday to accept the honour from Tamworth mayor Col Murray.
Instead it was left to family friend Euan Coutts to take possession of the honour board and pass it on to Dr Newman, who is gravelly ill after a sudden and savage return of cancer less than two weeks ago.
However, Dr Newman was informed earlier yesterday of the media reporting of the new honour and the words of the citation awarded by Tamworth Regional Council, and is delighted and humbled by the move.
The unassuming, generous historian and former teacher and education leader has been recognised for his outstanding service to Tamworth through “distinguished and meritorious” work through his historical research, writing and innumerable speaking engagements, and helping other groups to spread the word about our days gone by and the stories that have made us.
It was a low-key presentation made poignant by the circumstances yesterday but there was delight and appreciation from Dr Newman’s family, including two of his brothers, Geoff and Frank, from Tenterfield, his sister-in-law, Jann Newman, and long-time friend Mr Coutts. Tamworth Regional Council yesterday confirmed the Freeman honour had now only been given to 11 people (earlier research indicated there had been 12), but Dr Newman’s history books, the four-part chronology co-written with Lyall Green, only records the names of those who had come before 2004.