Inspirational charity chief Ellie is made freeman of borough

Brian Watson
Brian Watson

An inspirational woman who runs the Eastwood People’s Initiative charity is among three people made Honorary Freemen of the Borough of Broxtowe this week.

Ellie Leatherland, pictured, inset, was given the honour alongside Brian Watson, who has dedicated his life to the Boys’ Brigade, and Nigel Adams, who runs the Hope Nottingham churches’ organisation in Beeston.

John Booth

John Booth

At the same ceremony on Wednesday, former Broxtowe councillors John Booth and Stan Heptinstall were admitted as honorary aldermen in recognition of their work for the local community – between them, they served on the council for 57 years.

Councillor Richard Jackson, Broxtowe Borough Council leader, said: “These five people have all served their communities over many years and have given their time freely and unreservedly.

“They are all worthy of these, the highest honours the council can bestow.”

The council recognises the outstanding contributions of local people every four years by admitting them as freemen or aldermen of the borough.

Ellie Leatherland, who runs Eastwood People's Initiative.

Ellie Leatherland, who runs Eastwood People's Initiative.

Ellie hails from Lincolnshire and spent time in the USA before moving back to England in 1972 and settling in Eastwood.

Ten years later, she became a youth worker with the Eastwood Young Unemployed Project, and that began more than 36 years of commitment to improving the quality of life for people in the town.

She mounted a successful campaign to obtain funding to open a centre for EYUP and, in 1985, it moved to an old off-licence and soon became Eastwood People’s Initiative.

Now it is a thriving community centre on Scargill Walk, providing support, services and advice for unemployed people, the homeless and families.

Ellie retired from work nine years ago, but is still chairman of the charity and has served as a councillor.

Brian started his work with the Boys’ Brigade when moving to Nuthall in 1967.

He formed his own successful company, and has also been a key figure at Nuthall Parish Council, serving as chairman three times. He has been a JP for 23 years too.

John Booth is a former mayor of Broxtowe and, while at the council, persuaded British Coal to move to Eastwood.

He was also instrumental in rejuvenating the Moorgreen Colliery site, developing Giltbrook Retail Park and creating Colliers Wood park.