THE bid to honour three sons of Sunderland with the freedom of the city has been rubber stamped by council chiefs.
Preparations are now under way for a ceremony to celebrate former Black Cats chairman Sir Bob Murray, car magnate Sir Peter Vardy and ex-mayor and community stalwart John Mawston.
Sunderland City Council’s ruling cabinet has approved proposals to give the three men the freedom of the city and hold a special meeting to convey the honour in October.
Council leader Paul Watson said: “Mr John Mawston, Sir Bob Murray CBE and Sir Peter Vardy have all made outstanding contributions to the city of Sunderland and life here.
“They have been tireless in their support of schools, businesses, community projects and charities, and are a real credit to us all.”
Only a handful of others have previously been chosen for the honour since Sunderland became a city in 1992.
In 2006, Dr Ram Bannerjee, Sir Tom Cowie and Denise Robertson were granted their freedoms, as was Lord Puttnam of Queensgate CBE, the following year.
Other freedom holders include the fourth Regiment Royal Artillery, the officers and ratings of the city’s adopted warship HMS Ocean, the 3 Rifles – successors to the Durham Light Infantry – and Sunderland-born journalist Kate Adie.
“Appropriate arrangements” will be made for a formal ceremony at a special meeting of the full city council, on Friday, October 14.
John Mawston has been nominated in recognition of his outstanding contributions to local democracy, culture and leisure.
Sir Bob Murray CBE has been nominated in recognition of his outstanding contributions to football, education and charitable causes.
Sir Peter Vardy has been nominated in recognition of his outstanding contributions to business and education.