The Surrey Comet’s features editor June Sampson will be officially made a freeman of Kingston this evening.

The 80-year-old will receive a framed, illuminated scroll commemorating her conferment of the Freedom of the Borough from outgoing mayor Penny Shelton, ahead of a full council meeting where the new Conservative administration will also be formally agreed.

Mrs Sampson, who is married to former Comet news editor Hilton Tims, has worked for the newspaper for 40 years, and her history features and regular Shopwatch column have become hugely popular with readers in that time.

She will be one of five people – and the only woman – to receive the honour since 1965.

She said: "'I never realised until this award how much influence I had as a journalist. In hospital I thought it was a consolation for having had an accident and I was overjoyed to realise it was in recognition of my passion for Kingston.

"I've always been a little bit in love with the town and was lucky to have had the Comet as a medium to express it."

Tonight will be one of her first public appearances since she was hit by a car while crossing the road outside Kingston Hospital in November, which left her with serious injuries.

Comet editor David Rankin said: "June Sampson in the past few months has proved herself nothing short of a minor miracle, but for those who have had the honour of working with her for many years her skills, passion and dedication have not gone unnoticed.

"Her love of Kingston, both past and present, are unparalleled and I would like to thank her for all she has done for the borough, and Kingston Council, for bestowing this incredible honour."

Mrs Sampson’s presentation will be at the start of the meeting, which takes place at the Guildhall from 7.30pm tonight.