Gillian Nahum, founder and owner of Henley Sales & Charter has been awarded the prestigious honour of Freedom of the City of London.
Henley Sales & Charter has been selling and chartering beautiful classic vintage boats for over 30 years.
Gillian was put forward for the award through the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights (WCoS) where she is a Livery member. Gillian explained, “To become a full Livery member of the WCoS I needed to become a Freeman of the City. I was nominated by the WCoS as a leading light in my field of maintaining maritime heritage and they needed more diversity since traditionally the livery companies have been mostly male dominated. It was a huge honour to be awarded this after 30 years.”
The award, a certificate and a pouch in a frame, was presented to Gillian at a ceremony at the Guildhall. She plans to put it up in her office at home. Originally, Freemen used to carry the rolled up certificate in the leather pouch to present in situations when needed. As a Freeman you were originally allowed to carry a naked sword in public or if found drunk, the police would escort you home rather than throw you in a cell! Gillian commented, “Now the guide is to conduct your life as an honourable citizen. I quite liked the other old benefits which included having a silken rope if you were to be hanged and you could get married in St Paul’s Cathedral. I will be sponsoring a sheep for the annual crossing of London Bridge in September to raise money for a good cause.”
“At the rather moving ceremony there were some amazing things to look at which included a silver ship, courtesy of the Shipwrights. The workmanship is quite incredible. I loved the image of the pirates fighting on the aft deck. It reminded me of one of my maternal ancestors, Jack Hawkins, who I am led to believe was a bit of a rogue!,” Gillian commented. A dozen people were presented with Freeman awards. Gillian added, “There were some very interesting people there and I was in awe of them all and wondered what I was doing there. They were all very friendly and had incredible stories to tell. Being at the Guildhall is quite something for a girl originally from Manchester.”
The Livery Council of the WCoS offer grants to train as boat builders. Gillian commented, “I found this out through Ellie who worked with this us for five years at the HSC boatyard in Lower Basildon. Growing older, I now want to help young people get into the industry. I’ve recently done an Oxford university course on coaching and mentoring and I want to use this to mentor young people to set up in business. My work as a Freeman will be of an educational and charitable nature.”