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City Of Durham Teenager Set To Become Britains Youngest Freeman

2nd Feb 2015
City Of Durham Teenager Set To Become Britains Youngest Freeman
​Teenager Beth Elliott has been sworn in as a Durham Freeman today becoming the youngest ever recipient of the title in the near 700-year history of the city’s ancient trade guilds.

It is also believed that Beth’s installation into the Masons’ Company – where she joins her dad John and granddad Bob – will make her the youngest freeman in mainland Britain.

Beth, who lives in Great Lumley, hopes to become a doctor. She fired off her application immediately after her 18th birthday on July 6 last year while still at school and, within four weeks at the freemen’s Lammas (harvest) Guild Day in the town hall on August 4, her “first call” was formally recorded.

She was granted the Freedom after swearing the traditional oath, pledging allegiance to the Queen, the Bishop and the Mayor of Durham.

The Elliott’s connections to the freemen stretch back to at least the early 1800s and Beth’s installation will make her the seventh generation of her family to become a member of the Masons’ Company.

Until last summer she was head girl at Park View School in Chester-le-Street and achieved three top grades in her A levels. She currently works as a first-aider with a private ambulance company while awaiting the outcome of interviews for university medical schools.

In her spare time she plays football for Birtley Ladies, rides horses, and has an interest in power boating and sailing. Her 16-year-old brother Jack is already showing interest in the affairs of the freemen.

"The freemen have played an important role in the development of the city over many hundreds of years and their history is something I find very interesting. But, I put my name forward at the first opportunity, because I wanted to keep up our long family tradition," said Beth.

The chairmen of the wardens, John Heslop, commented: “We are delighted Beth is maintaining her family’s involvement in the Masons’ Company and are particularly pleased she will be adding to the growing number of young freemen who have been welcomed in recent years. It illustrates the increasing awareness of the freedom in the wider community and its relevance and purpose in the 21st century.”