Seven thousand Sunderland Nissan workers awarded Freedom of the City

The Mayor of Sunderland Coun Doris MacKnight with Nissan's Kevin Fitzpatrick, Colin Lawther, employees Rachel Laydon and Michael Beckham, and deputy leader Coun Harry Trueman.
The Mayor of Sunderland Coun Doris MacKnight with Nissan's Kevin Fitzpatrick, Colin Lawther, employees Rachel Laydon and Michael Beckham, and deputy leader Coun Harry Trueman.
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Thousands of Sunderland workers can use the title Honorary Freeman after the entire workforce at the city’s Nissan plant was awarded the Freedom of the City.

Every single member of the 7,000-strong team received the highest honour the City of Sunderland can bestow at a special ceremony attended by a number of dignitaries.

I speak for the whole plant when I say how proud we are to receive this honour

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Divisional Vice President of Nissan Motor Manufacturing Ltd

The workers were represented by some 65 staff members who attended the council chamber at Sunderland Civic Centre followed by a reception in the Mayor’s Parlour.

The accolade recognises the role of Nissan’s workforce in establishing the largest and most successful car plant in UK history.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Divisional Vice President of Nissan Motor Manufacturing Ltd, said: “I speak for the whole plant when I say how proud we are to receive this honour from Sunderland City Council.

“For three decades Nissan and the City of Sunderland have worked hand in hand, creating a leading global automotive centre.

“Central to that has been the ingenuity, quality and commitment of our workforce – so many of whom were born and bred close to our factory.”

Sunderland Mayor Doris MacKnight said: “The granting of the Honorary Freedom of the City is the highest honour the council can bestow upon those who have rendered eminent service to the city.

“This proposal will formally seal the relationship between Nissan and the City of Sunderland and is in recognition of the esteem in which the employees of Nissan are held by the citizens of Sunderland and in recognition of their continued dedication.”