Sue Higginson OBE DL awarded Wirral’s highest honour

The former principal of Wirral Met College, Sue Higginson OBE DL, was presented with Wirral’s highest honour – the Freedom of the Borough – at a civic event hosted by the Mayor on Tuesday, 27 February.

Councillors agreed unanimously to grant the honour at an extraordinary meeting of the Council on 4 December, in recognition of her service to the borough, which spans over four decades.

The Freedom of the Borough is the highest honour the Council can bestow and only 14 other individuals and groups have received it in the 50 years since Wirral Council was formed.

The Mayor of Wirral, Councillor Jerry Williams, presented the award to Sue before a civic dinner attended by members of her family and civic dignitaries, including the Lord-Lieutenant and the High Sheriff of Merseyside.

The Mayor of Wirral, said, “The Freedom of the Borough award demonstrates how this Council and many of our residents feel about the exceptional contribution that Sue has made to our borough, its young people and to our civic life.

“It is difficult to overestimate the positive impact she has had on the personal development and life chances of tens of thousands of our young people.”

Sue became actively involved in community life in the early 1980s as part of a charity supporting local community groups, which had been established by her employer. Her passion for community engagement continued as she moved from industry to retrain as a teacher before spending 34 years dedicated to Further Education.

During this time, she supported and worked with thousands of students, hundreds of businesses, and community groups, and more than 34 Wirral Mayors, helping to celebrate the good work going on in Wirral and encouraging civic pride across the borough.

Sue retired as Principal of Wirral Met in July 2023.

Following her retirement, Sue continues her community work with a range of voluntary roles including Vice Chair of the Association of Colleges Charitable Trust, a Trustee and Non-Exec Director of Eureka Science and Discovery in Wirral and Halifax, a volunteer for Clatterbridge Cancer Charity, and an Hon Dr of University of Chester supporting research. As a Deputy-Lieutenant, she is proud to support the Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside who is the representative of HM The King, in Merseyside.

Sue became a Wirral Ambassador of Culture during the 2019 Borough of Culture and continues to support the 2024 culture programme. She also sits on the Mayor-elect’s Charity Committee, which will raise funds for local good causes during the 2024-25 Mayoral year.

Sue Higginson OBE DL, Freewoman of Wirral, said, “I feel quite overwhelmed and touched by this great honour. It is a joy to work with the many people and organisations in Wirral who share a passion to make a difference.

“Reflecting over four decades of projects and events, what resonates most with me is the strength of partnership working in Wirral. Whether this has been providing tea dances for our seniors in care homes, creating a garden in Clatterbridge Oncology Centre or developing major new projects linked to Wirral Waters, they all contribute to community life and it is the greatest privilege to be part of this.”

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