Axminster Town Council initiated former Councillor Martin Spurway as a freeman of the parish of Axminster. 

Bestowed his title during the monthly town council meeting on November 13, they say Martin was given the title "in recognition of his exceptional and dedicated service as a Town Councillor. This honour acknowledges Martin's unwavering commitment to the community and his invaluable contributions to Axminster."

Martin was born and raised in Axminster and became a councillor on the 9th of August 1982 and stepped down in May of this year.

Martin was a member of the Amenities and Cemetery Committees and previously chaired both. He was also the Chair of the East Devon Promotion Committee, which sought to raise the national profile of Axminster (and East Devon) as a tourist destination.

The title of Freeman of the Parish is a symbolic honour reflecting the gratitude of a community to an individual for their eminent service. It is a tradition that dates back centuries and is reserved for those who have made a significant positive impact through civic leadership and philanthropy.

Town Mayor Cllr Jill Farrow said: "In honouring Martin Spurway with the Freedom of the Parish, Axminster Town Council celebrates Martin's achievements and the spirit of community service that binds our residents together, fostering a sense of pride and unity among all who call Axminster home. We hope that the honour inspires others to follow in Martin's footsteps, and highlights the importance of civic engagement, encouraging active participation for the betterment of our town.

"I am delighted that Axminster Town Council has bestowed this honour. Martin has demonstrated diligence and commitment to Axminster for more than four decades, and I would like to sincerely thank him on behalf of the Town Council and our residents for his voluntary service over such a long period."

Martin Spurway spoke about his Freeman of the Parish status: “It was a real surprise, and I was delighted to have been given the Freedom of the Parish. I want to thank Axminster Town Council for bestowing such an honour upon me.

"I have really enjoyed my time as a town councillor and taken great pleasure in watching the town change and improve over the years, especially the cemetery and allotments, which are particularly dear to my heart.

"Many people have volunteered their help to me personally over the years, but also to the Council. Axminster would not be what it is today without their help, and I am very grateful to each and every one of them.”

Axminster Town Council has presented Martin with a framed certificate acknowledging his Freedom of the Parish, and a tree will be planted in his honour in the spring.