Northern Ireland

Council awards Van Morrison freedom of Belfast

Van Morrison
Image caption Van Morrison has taken inspiration from his home city for a number of songs

World-famous singer Van Morrison has been awarded the freedom of Belfast.

The move was unanimously agreed after a special meeting of Belfast City Council on Monday.

A motion by the DUP's Gavin Robinson recognised the extraordinary contribution the 68-year-old singer, known affectionately to fans as "Van the Man", has made to the city.

He is the first recipient of the honour since Dame Mary Peters.

Other recipients since 1898 include Sir Edward Carson.

It is not yet known how the honour will be marked, but the council may stage a concert rather than a formal ceremony.

Mr Morrison was brought up in east Belfast.

He has taken inspiration from streets in his home city for a number of songs, including Cyprus Avenue and Hyndford Street.

His career began in the 1950s and he has enjoyed critical acclaim, winning six Grammy Awards, a Brit Award for outstanding contribution to music, and places in both the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters' Hall of Fame.

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