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Did you know these people have received the Freedom of the City of Liverpool?

2 years ago

Did you know these people have received the Freedom of the City of Liverpool?

The Freedom of Liverpool has been awarded to 69 different people and organisations

The city’s about to bestow its greatest honour, the Freedom of Liverpool, on LFC manager Jurgen Klopp and actress Sue Johnston.

The pair are set to receive the honorary Freedom of the City, joining a host of famed and celebrated people who have been awarded the privilege of the highest civil award the city can offer.

Klopp will be granted the distinction for transforming the club’s fortunes, having led the team to six major trophies, with successes in the Premier League, Champions League, Emirates FA Cup, Carabao Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup, since his arrival in 2015.

Royle Family and former Brookside favourite Sue, who was awarded the OBE in 2009 for her services to drama and charity, was nominated for Freedom of the City by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram. 

For both it’s a recognition of the contribution they have made to the city. But did you know these people have all been given Freedom of the City too?

The Beatles

The Fab Four were awarded the Freedom of the City in March 1984, 14 years after breaking up because councillors in their ‘60s heyday apparently disliked the band’s celebrity lifestyle. Paul was the only living member of the band to collect the honour in person, saying afterwards: “I’d like to think it’s the people of Liverpool giving it to me. If that’s true, it’s the greatest honour.”

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela Family

Dr Makaziwe ‘Maki’ Mandela and Tukwini Mandela unveil a portrait of Nelson Mandela in the newly renamed Mandela Suite inside St George’s Hall (Photo: John Hollingsworth)

Apartheid activist and South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, was given the accolade in July 1994 for his role in ending apartheid. The inspirational leader, who served 27 years in prison for opposing the system and fighting for equality, had strong links with the city going back to the ‘80s and the campaign to free him. The links continue, with the Mandela memorial and freedom bridge due to be installed in Princes Park in the autumn, and strong relationships forged with his family.

Bishop of Liverpool the Rt Rev David Sheppard, and Liverpool Archbishop the Most Rev Derek Worlock

The former church leaders were awarded the honour in August 1994. Upset by the years of sectarianism in the city, Bishop Sheppard and Archbishop Worlock worked together to end the mistrust and bitterness that had festered between Protestants and Catholics. Forming a close bond, they were united in the belief that if Liverpool was to go forward, it had to go forward together, and co-wrote a book, Better Together.

Roy Castle OBE

Picture – Roy Castle Foundation

Dancer, singer, comedian, actor, television presenter and musician, Roy Castle had a long TV career, becoming best-known as presenter of the long-running series, Record Breakers. Although Yorkshire- born, Roy Castle is synonymous with the city, having agreed to raise £12m to build, equip and run a new centre for the Lung Cancer Fund after being diagnosed with the condition, renamed The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation after his death. Roy was given the Freedom of the City in August 1994.

Ken Dodd OBE

Credit: Mark McNulty

The self-styled Squire of Knotty Ash was awarded the Freedom of the City in January 2001. He had a career lasting more than six decades, as a comedian, singer and actor; he was described as ‘the last great music hall entertainer’, and was legendary for his live stand-up performances which often ran way over time, along with his signature tickling stick and his Diddy Men who worked in the jam butty mines!

Roger McGough

Member of the ‘60s group The Scaffold, Litherland-born Roger was given the Freedom of Liverpool in January 2001 – alongside fellow poets Adrian Henri and Brian Patten. Poet, children’s author and playwright, Roger was one of the leading members of the Liverpool poets, a group of young poets influenced by Beat poetry and the popular music and culture of 1960s Liverpool. He is an honorary fellow of Liverpool John Moores University, fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and President of the Poetry Society.

Sir Terry Leahy

The Liverpool-born businessman and former CEO of Tesco was presented with the accolade in January 2001. He was credited with transforming the supermarket during his 14 years there, turning it into a global player and quadrupling sales and profits. Today he is senior advisor to a private investment company and director of online tyre seller

Simon Weston OBE

The Welsh-born British army veteran suffered severe burns when his ship, Sir Galahad, was bombed during the Falklands War. After enduring around 100 operations and surgical procedures, Simon went on to become patron of a number of charities that support people living with disfigurements, as well as the lead ambassador for The Healing Foundation. He also set up a now-defunct national youth charity, Weston Spirit, when he moved to Liverpool. He got the Freedom of the City in January 2001.

Gerry Marsden OBE

Gerry Marsden

The much-loved Toxteth-born singer formed Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1956, and the band has the distinction of being the first act to reach number one in the UK Singles Chart with each of their first three singles – the third being their cover version of You’ll Never Walk Alone, which became Liverpool FC ’s anthem. He was awarded the Freedom of the City in January 2009.

The 97 Hillsborough Victims

Hillsborough - 97

Perhaps the most poignant of all the decisions to award the Freedom of the City was this one, conferred in 2016 after the families were awarded the honour in 2009. Initially awarded to the 96 victims, it was posthumously given to the 97th victim of the Hillsborough disaster, Andrew Devine, in May this year, on what would have been his 56th birthday. Originally announcing the honour to the 96, then Mayor Joe Anderson said: “We are … in truly exceptional circumstances, posthumously awarding the Freedom of the City to the 96 innocent people who the whole world now knows paid the ultimate price for the failings and actions of others, and who have been disgracefully smeared over many years.”

Sir Phil Redmond

Image credit – Christopher Furlong/PA

Huyton-born Phil Redmond – also CBE – was awarded the Freedom of Liverpool in November 2018. The television producer and screenwriter is famous for creating some of TV’s best-loved and pioneering series, including Grange HillBrookside and Hollyoaks.

Bessie Braddock

Everton-born Bessie Braddock was given the Freedom of the City in April 1970. Liverpool’s first female MP, for Labour, she was first elected in 1945 and applauded as a champion of the poor and impoverished in Liverpool. Her efforts saw city slums cleared, and her campaigns focused on public health, better housing and education. Nicknamed Battling Bessie, she was a member of the Labour Party National Executive Committee and served as vice-chairman of the Labour Party in 1968.

Jimmy McGovern

Award-winning writer and producer Jimmy McGovern was given the Freedom of Liverpool in March this year for his contribution to the city’s film and TV industry, and for championing social justice in his work over the last 40 years. His TV, stage and film credits include Brookside, Cracker, The Dockers, Priest, The Lakes, Accused, King Cotton, Moving On, The Street, Anthony, and, most recently, Time. Among his many notable works was the 1996 docu-drama Hillsborough which was cited as key in the campaign for truth for the bereaved families and survivors.

And it’s not just people who are awarded the Freedom of Liverpool.

BBC Radio Merseyside and Radio City have both been given the honour. Announced in 2017 and presented to them in 2018, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, then Lord Mayor, said: “We are extremely fortunate to have two radio stations that have been embedded in and have reflected life in our city for decades. Both BBC Radio Merseyside and Radio City are part of the fabric of Liverpool, and entire generations of families have heard them reflect both the humour and sorrow of the city, giving it a voice during both good times, and bad.”

Both stations were also praised for their contribution to alleviating poverty and helping communities in difficulty, Radio City’s Cash for Kids Appeal, and Radio Merseyside’s contribution to the BBC’s Children in Need Appeal and the work of the highly-regarded A Team.


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