Warren Woodley was honoured on Friday night with the highest accolade a community can give, a Freeman of the City Award.
While the honour was announced in March, the former mayor and councillor of some 39 years, was presented with the award at a ceremony in council chambers, surrounded by family and friends.
“I was very happy and pleased to be honoured in this way – it is something that I have never even thought about,” he said.
Mr Woodley first joined council in his twenties at the behest of his friends and colleagues.
“I thought why not give it a go and then got the shock of my life when I got in – but I loved it,” Mr Woodley said.
“I spent half my life in council and really enjoyed it, I was also lucky enough to have a beautiful wife in Lorraine who supported me all the way.”
“A lot of people liked me being in there because there was no one else my age, so a lot of younger people would ask my advice on things.”
At the time Mr Woodley worked as an upholsterer and car trimmer at his father’s business, and lived in Edwards Street in South Tamworth, which was dirt and without gutters at the time.
“We started getting the streets tarred and guttered, and then I was in charge of the gas works, and the saleyards and went into a few business roles – I learnt so much,” he said.
Eventually after serving as deputy for many years under Tamworth’s longest serving mayor James Treloar, who was also honoured with the Freeman of the City Award, Mr Woodley stepped up as mayor in 2000.
“I never had any great ambitions to be mayor, and it didn’t break my heart when I lost it,” he said.
“One thing I really wanted to do was grow Tamworth so young people didn’t have to leave or go to the city to find a job – that was my big push and I am proud of what I achieved in my time with council.”
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