Manny, 101, becomes City’s oldest Freeman

Guildhall ceremony honours East End character


 A true East Ender who was born during a Zeppelin raid has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London — at the age of 101.

Emanuel Blankett — known to family and friends as Manny — is the oldest living man in the Square Mile to hold the honour, which recognises outstanding contributions to life in the capital.

Mr Blankett was joined by relatives and close friends at the Guildhall ceremony. Also present was Labour councillor Jason Pritchard, who nominated him, saying he “really deserved to be spoilt”.

Posing for photos afterwards, Mr Blankett said the evening had been “wonderful and very memorable”.

Russell Talbot told the JC that his Uncle Manny “has always been interested in other people and living life to the full.

“I have tried to persuade him to move away from the East End to be closer to the main Jewish community in North-West London.

“But Manny said his social life was based around the East End and he didn’t want to move.

“There’s still a small Jewish community in the area to which Uncle Manny remains very much a part of.”

Mr Blankett worked as a hairdresser before joining the family fur business.

He later became a lifeguard at the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park. He has had two partners, both now deceased.

A committed campaigner against nuclear weapons, he was one of the Committee of 100 anti-war group, alongside Bertrand Russell, Arnold Wesker and Vanessa Redgrave. On his 100th birthday, as well as a greeting from the Queen, he received a card signed by the first team of his beloved Tottenham Hotspur.

His diet is mostly vegetarian — he cannot resist a salt beef sandwich — and he also enjoys the occasional shandy.

Councillor Pritchard got to know Mr Blankett through his support for the Labour Party. “He is a such a special individual who is defying his age,” he said.

“Even at 101, he is still so nimble on his feet and mentally, he is as bright as a button.”

The Freedom of the City award dates back to 1237. Previous recipients have included Sir Nicholas Winton, the “British Schindler”, who was honoured in 2015, shortly before his death.


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