'Monty' and John Hays to be given Freedom of Sunderland tomorrow

Jimmy Montgomery
Jimmy Montgomery
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Black Cats legend Jimmy Montgomery and businessman John Hays will be honoured in a special ceremony.

The 1973 Fa Cup winning goalie and the founder of Hays Travel will be awarded the Freedom of the City of Sunderland at a full meeting of the city council in the council chamber.

John Hays

John Hays

Freedom of the City traditionally honour notable citizens of Sunderland who have made significant contributions to wellbeing and community spirit on Wearside.

‘Monty,’ was born in Hendon, Sunderland, and as a youngster joined Sunderland AFC in 1960. He went on to make a record 627 appearances for Sunderland.

He played a pivotal role in the 1973 cup final win over Leeds United where he made an iconic double save, considered by many to be the greatest double save ever seen at Wembley, .

In 2012 he became SAFC's first official Club Ambassador, to be a host on match days and represent the club at outside events. He has been the driving force behind the SAFC Former Players’ Association, and has arranged and hosted many fundraising events for a number of Wearside charities.

He received an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Sunderland in 2014 and then in June 2015 he was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to football.

John Hays has now been in the travel industry for more than three decades.

Hays Travel now employs more than 1,000 people, including 406 at its Sunderland headquarters in Vine Place. Hays Travel was recently voted as one of the Best Companies to Work for by The Times.

The last freedom to be awarded was two years in March 2014 for Nissan's chief performance officer Trevor Mann. In 2013, freedoms were awarded to former Sunderland AFC player Niall Quinn MBE and Joël Batteux, the Mayor of Sunderland's twin-town St Nazaire.

Other freedoms of Sunderland include television reporter Kate Adie, 4 Regiment Royal Artillery, 3 Rifles and the crew of HMS Ocean, Sunderland's adopted warship and the Royal Navy's largest.