Freedom of the City fit for a Royle

ONE of Liverpool’s most famous actors and comedians will be granted the Freedom of the city at a special ceremony next week.

On Monday 6 October, at Liverpool Town Hall, Ricky Tomlinson will receive the honour in recognition of his varied work over the years fighting for justice, entertaining millions on TV and raising money and awareness for charity.

Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Erica Kemp, said: “The Freedom of the City is the highest honour we can bestow, and Ricky Tomlinson is most definitely a worthy recipient.

“Not only has he spent many years entertaining the nation in many varied roles, he is an advocate for justice, never afraid to speak out on behalf of others.

“He is incredibly supportive of many local charities and a fantastic ambassador for this city.

“I am delighted to be granting him the Freedom of the City of Liverpool.”

Ricky Tomlinson said: “As someone Liverpool born and bred I am delighted to be awarded this honour.

“To be given the freedom of the city I love is a highlight of my career, I am incredibly proud to be joining the many great people who have also received this honour.”

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “I can’t think of many people more deserving than Ricky Tomlinson to receive the Freedom of Liverpool.

“As well as entertaining the nation as a versatile and talented actor, he has raised and donated millions of pounds to good causes and campaigned to raise the profile of hugely important issues ranging from Hillsborough to human rights.

“He embodies the very best attributes of the city – hugely passionate, opinionated and willing to speak up for and defend those who don’t have a voice.

“Despite his incredible success over many years, he has remained absolutely true to his roots and works every day to improve the lives of others in the city.”

Ricky was born in Blackpool as his mother, Peggy, was evacuated there during the Second World War, but returned to the city just three days later.

Ricky has starred in films and many television shows most memorable as Bobby Grant in ‘Brookside’ and Jim Royle in ‘The Royle Family’.

In 1996 Ricky teamed up with writer Jimmy McGovern to give a brilliant and moving performance in ‘Hillsborough’ as John Glover the father of Ian who died in the disaster. Ricky has supported the fight for justice for the 96 victims and their relatives ever since the tragedy.

Ricky supported the first national builders strike in 1972 fighting for fair pay and conditions. In1973 he was imprisoned, along with others, after being convicted of being an illegal flying picket. He is still campaigning vigorously to have his, and fellow convicted comrades verdicts quashed, demanding the granting of full pardons.