Stoke & Staffordshire

Robbie Williams given Freedom of Stoke-on-Trent

Robbie Williams at the London Palladium Image copyright PA
Image caption Robbie Williams' career has spanned more than two decades

Robbie Williams has been granted the Freedom of Stoke-on-Trent.

Councillors unanimously voted to bestow the singer with the honour - an symbolic title to recognise civic contributions - at an extraordinary meeting.

The Stoke Sentinel newspaper - now in its 160th year - was also granted Freeman status.

The council said a ceremony would be held to mark Williams' award "at a date and time to be agreed".

'Stokie pride'

"Robbie Williams is a true international superstar," said council leader Mohammed Pervez.

"He is one of our city's most famous sons.

"He has raised the city's profile and he's proud of being a 'Stokie'."

The motion to give him freedom of the city reads: "The council recognises and acknowledges the contribution made by Robert Peter Williams for his role as ambassador for the city.

"By granting this award [the council] shows its overwhelming appreciation for his outstanding contribution to music and for his local and international fundraising activities, specifically supporting children in the area."

Stoke has held a number of events in to mark the 40th birthday of Williams, who grew up in the city.

Last month a blue plaque was mounted on gates in Tunstall Park, near the pop singer's childhood home.

The Stoke Sentinel has famously campaigned to save Port Vale Football Club and the 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Staffords) - the former Staffordshire regiment.

Mr Pervez said the newspaper had "always been one of the city's greatest advocates".

Previous recipients of the Freedom of Stoke have included Sir Stanley Matthews and Stoke City FC.

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