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/ People of Ramsgate
/ Ralph Hoult - Honorary Freeman of Ramsgate Town
What inspired you to help the community?
It all started in 1951, when I joined the St. Laurence Scouts as a Cub on Newington Estate, one of the main things that we were taught was to help others. The Scout Movement have always had this as a very important part of their training. Community activity continued when I joined the RAF in 1960, as a lad of 16, and once again the community was very important, during this time I ran the local scouts and a youth club and whenever there was a National crisis they used to call on the troops to help.
I have always thought that everybody should give some of themselves to the community, most events come from volunteers. These events help raise the quality of all our lives and there is so much fun and satisfaction in seeing your events and projects coming to life and making a difference.
How did you feel when you heard you were nominated?
I was actually in the Ramsgate Town Council Meeting at the time on a completely different issue of funding for our “90th Birthday Street Party for the Queen”, which was successful. When they started talking about the subject I really had no idea where it was going. When Councillor Peter Campbell nominated the first Honorary Freeman of Ramsgate for 58 years, it still did not register. When I heard his words followed by my name, what a great and unexpected surprise it was! I did not even know that this was on the meeting agenda. To say that I was speechless, unusual for me, was an understatement, I cannot find the words for how proud, excited and overwhelmed I felt, what can you say? WOW!
Were you nervous leading up to receiving your award?
No, not nervous, very proud and pleased to receive such a great Honour. I do quite a lot of theatre, so I am used to doing similar types of speeches. It was very nice to have the opportunity to acknowledge the many people who have supported me over the years, many of whom were in the audience, Brenda Blethyn OBE, Julie Forsyth, Joan LeMesurier, Janet Fielding, Lady Chesher and Ian Sharp and Victoria Lawrence (our local World Champion Dancers) and of course, not forgetting my family led by my wife Jean and sons.
How does it feel to be called a Freeman of the Town?
It is such a great feeling and what an amazing gold badge of the Town Crest. It makes me feel so good every time I get the opportunity to wear it; Blessing of the Sea, War Heroes Drumhead Service, Battles for Victory Event, starting the Alfie Gough Run and some of my own events, it is always an honour.
Looking back on your life achievements what is the most memorable?
Difficult to say; my wedding day – yes; each birthday of my three children – yes; each birthday of my two grandchildren – yes. Outside these there are so many, getting this award was certainly up there, Buckingham Palace Garden Party and lunch with the Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury on the Queen's Golden Jubilee are also in the running. My 13 years in the RAF are high on the list, as this was the day that I received my Queen Scout award and an Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief's award while in the RAF. I have loved my entire life so far.
What can the town expect to see from you in the future?
I am already planning the biggest event of my life so far; the “200th Anniversary of the Royal Harbour of Ramsgate”. In the year 2021, we are going to invite the future King George VII and his parents to unveil a statue (hopefully) of King George IV on the Royal Harbour, if all goes to plan. If any reader wants to get involved, I will need a lot of help.
I will continue to stage “Make Me A Star”; The “Christmas Cracker Variety Shows” and the “Thanet Obelisk Award Shows”. There is the Ramsgate Event Organisers (REO) and Ramsgate & Broadstairs Sea Cadets and the Ramsgate Visitors Information Centre, there is still a lot to do!
Contact Ralph on 07969 672674 or via email email@example.com