Yarmouth pharmacist Tim Gibbs has been given the rare privilege of being granted the Freedom of the Town.
Tim was presented with the award last week at an impromptu ceremony by Mayor, Steve Cowley, and Deputy, Jamie Allen. Cllr Cowley said: “Yarmouth Town Council decided at its January 2021 meeting to award him this honour in recognition of his unstinting work in supporting residents during the Covid pandemic.
“Under present restrictions, a suitable ceremony could not be held, but it is hoped that a celebration will be held in the Community Hall of Yarmouth and District (CHOYD), at which residents can join, in order to show their appreciation.
“Christmas Day was the only day not worked by Tim during the last year. Government cuts to funding for prescriptions has left independent pharmacies struggling to survive, at a time when their advice and help is essential to communities.
“Yarmouth Town Council is considering how best to petition government on behalf of Tim and others across the country in a similar plight.”
The last person to receive the award was former Carnival Chairman, Chris Waddington, in 2017. It means that Tim will now be able to take his sheep over the Yar Bridge free of charge and he can ride his horse into town while wearing a sword!
Tim said: “It was a big surprise and it’s very kind of people to think of me like this. I don’t expect anything and I feel that I am just doing my job. But the Town Council said they wanted to give me an award for my work here over the last 15 years and I’m very honoured.
“We’ve had a very difficult last year and our takings are nowhere near what they should have been.
“Each week, there are four or five independent chemists closing around the country because they are losing money. We’re just hoping things will pick up in the summer. It’s very difficult selling our other items in the pharmacy because we can only allow one person in at a time and they can’t really browse around.
“We continue to work hard in the background but our funding has been regularly cut and the Government doesn’t understand that we can’t keep going if we’re losing money. The issue has been brought up in the House of Lords and the House of Commons but no one is listening.
“Now we’re trying to get more people aware of this situation and do something about it. We’re not making any money and it would be a huge blow to the town if anything was to happen to us.”