Ex-deputy mayor Jennette’s city freedom award
Politician handed sheep-herding rights
01 November, 2019 — By Calum Fraser
IF anybody has sheep they need quickly herded over the Thames, then Jennette Arnold says she is happy to help.
The long-standing politician and daughter of Windrush parents was honoured with the Freedom of the City at a special ceremony on Friday.
One of the many unusual freedoms this ancient title awards, is that the holder has the right to move sheep across London Bridge.
Ms Arnold, who previously held the position of deputy mayor in Islington but has now been the north-east London representative on the London Assembly for almost two decades, was born in Montserrat before moving to the UK with her parents as a child.
She said: “Nobody would have said when I was born on the tiny volcanic Caribbean island that I would end up being honoured in receiving the freedom of London.
“You don’t take these incredible journeys without the support of family and friends, who were all there along with colleagues from my Islington days.”
She added: “I can now take my sheep across London Bridge which I never thought I would be able to say. I’ll take yours or anyone else’s as well.”
There are other symbolic rights that come with the Freedom: if the City of London Police find a freeman or woman “drunk and incapable”, they will put them in a taxi home rather than throw them into a cell.
Ms Arnold said that this would not be necessary.
The ceremony took place at Guildhall in recognition of her career in politics and her work as a nurse before that.
She has already said that she will step down from the London Assembly next year.
“I don’t plan to stop working though,” Ms Arnold said. “Campaigns come to me like bees to honey.”
She added: “I hope this will be an inspiration to all young people of BAME heritage that they have a voice that needs to be heard and that they can make a positive and meaningful impact on their local communities.”