REPORTER GIVEN FREEDOM OF THE BOROUGH
Former Croydon Advertiser reporter Ian Austen has been given the Freedom of the Borough in recognition of the “eminent service” he has rendered to Croydon.
Ian, who retired earlier this year, has reported extensively on the borough’s affairs for 46 years.
His nomination for the award says: “His dedication to Croydon and its people has seen him champion the borough and campaign for important causes ; he has also held the political leadership to account in a career spanning six decades.
“Reporting on a number of Croydon firsts, he covered the election of the borough’s first Labour council and campaigned to help bring the trams to Croydon – a story he followed from inception, to attending parliamentary debates through to achieving royal assent.
“More recently he has championed the borough’s ambitious regeneration plans including the town centre and Whitgift shopping centre redevelopment.
“He has also given unstinting public service by ensuring the debates and decisions of the council have been reported, giving residents a chance to read about the issues that affect their daily lives.
“The council recognises this unparalleled achievement in local journalism, and his unique contribution to Croydon life.”
The title is rarely awarded. Past recipients have been Lord Weatherill (a former Speaker of the Commons), Colonel McLelland (a former Representative Deputy Lieutenant), Lord Bowness (a former Leader of Croydon Council and a Life Peer), Bishop Wilfred Wood (a former Bishop of Croydon), former Councillors Adrian Dennis & Derek Loughborough, a previous chief executive, Mr. David Wechsler and Mr Malcolm Wicks MP (posthumously).
With family and friends looking on at the full council meeting Ian was presented with the award by the Mayor of Croydon Patricia Hay-Justice and given a standing ovation by those in the council chamber.