Freedom of City sees Nissan workers join distinguished roll of honour

John Hays (left) and Jimmy Montgomery receive the Freedom of the City from Mayor Barry Curran earlier this year.
John Hays (left) and Jimmy Montgomery receive the Freedom of the City from Mayor Barry Curran earlier this year.
0
Have your say

Sunderland's Nissan workforce will join some illustrious names when it is formally granted the Freedom of the City.

Councillors voted unanimously this evening to award the workforce an honour that former plant boss Trevor Mann received more than two years ago.

Niall Quinn with his Freedom certificate

Niall Quinn with his Freedom certificate

The very first Freeman was Captain Ernest Vaux, who was awarded the honour on June 1901, alongside dozens of his fellow servicemen from the Boer War.

Many more soldiers were awarded the Freedom of the City over the coming years, but 1907 saw the range extended when both the Earl of Durham, John Lambton, and U.S. industrialist Andrew Carnegie were awarded the honour.

Scots-born Carnegie, who made millions in the steel industry, was one of the 19th Century's great philanthropists and funded 3,000 libraries across the US, Canada and Britain – including Monkwearmouth, Hendon and Kayll Road in Sunderland – with the aim of promoting literacy and education

It was the turn of Sunderland Echo founder Samuel Storey to be made a Freeman in 1921, but it was not until 30 years later that the first group, rather than individual, was honoured, when the Freedom of the City was bestowed on two anti-aircraft units.

Trevor Mann receives his certificate from Mayor Bob Heron

Trevor Mann receives his certificate from Mayor Bob Heron

January 1974 saw one Robert Stokoe and Sunderland Association Football Club Limited granted the honour - no prizes for guessing why - and in 1989 it was the turn of broadcasting legend Kate Adie.

The Officers and Ratings of HMS Arrow were granted the Freedom of the City in october 1989, followed by the crew of HMS Ocean in July 2004.

June 2006 saw TV agony aunt Denise Robertson honoured alongside city businessman Sir Tom Cowie O.B.E, while Sir Tom's fellow Wearside car sales magnate Sir Peter Vardy was made a Freeman in 2011.

Faces from SAFC's history have featured heavily in recent years. Sir Bob Murray was honoured in 2011, Niall Quinn in 2013 and Jimmy Montgomery was honoured earlier this year, alongside Hays Travel boss John Hays.