Freewoman who changed lives


Lois Harrison Benton was admitted as an Honorary Freewoman of Rye at a special Town Council meeting on Monday, September 18.

This was in recognition of four decades of contributing to the development of Girlguiding locally as well as encouraging younger children during thirty four years of music teaching.

She had been nominated by Cllr. Rebekah Gilbert and received her scroll of admission from the Mayor Cllr. Jonathan Breeds – both members of the musical group, the Rye Bay Crew.

Rebekah said Lois had had an impact on so many lives and not just at Thomas Peacocke Community College, and she “had changed my life and many others”.

In reply Lois talked about her involvement with guiding and music teaching and mentioned in passing that she had been one of the founding members of Rye Arts Festival, now in its 46th year.

She asked the Mayor if the Freedom meant she could walk her sheep along the High Street. Freedom of the City of London includes the right to drive one’s sheep over one of the Thames bridges.

Given the High Street’s traffic problems the Mayor thought this was unlikely, if not impossible.

Photo: John Minter

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  1. Well done Rye Town Council for recognising the amazing woman that is Lois Benton and the commitment to the town she has shown over the years.
    Sorry Miss, for mucking about so much in choir practice!!!

  2. Congratulations to Lois; an inspirational music teacher and dedicated Guide leader. Wonderful to see such a deserving recipient of this award. Thank you for having such a huge impact on my life at school and beyond. x

  3. Many congratulations, Miss Benton, from a former student; but it must be more than “thirty four years of music teaching”. My (compulsory) audition for you for the Rye Grammar School Choir in 1958 lasted all of ten seconds before you informed me that my services would not be needed – that’s nearly 60 years ago! My singing hasn’t improved but I’m sure that you’ve had a considerable positive effect on many others!


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