Tayside and Central Scotland

Honorary degree and freedom of Stirling for Andy Murray

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Media captionAndy Murray: ''To get this honour means a lot to me''

Tennis star Andy Murray has been awarded the freedom of Stirling in a visit to the area in which he grew up.

The Wimbledon champion was in tears as he became a freeman of the city at a special meeting of Stirling Council in Dunblane High School.

He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Stirling, where he once trained, among a number of other awards.

The 26-year-old said he was "honoured and excited" to receive the awards.

Murray took part in a lively question and answer session with school children and a live online audience from Wallace High School in Stirling.

He grew up in Dunblane, which is about three miles north of the city of Stirling.

In a busy day around his home area, he also visited the Cromlix hotel, which he recently bought and redeveloped, and received an award from Tennis Scotland.

'Inspirational figure'

An emotional Murray became only the third freeman of Stirling in a ceremony at his former high school.

He said: "Everyone knows how proud I am of where I come from, so this is a huge honour.

"Moving away was one of the sacrifices I had to make for my job and every time I come back it's quite emotional.

"It's been a very emotional today - I wasn't in tears when I won Wimbledon."

Image caption An emotional Murray became a freeman of Stirling at a special meeting in Dunblane High School

The meeting was watched by school pupils and about 200 local residents who took part in a ballot for tickets for the event.

Stirling Provost Mike Robbins said there was great interest locally in Murray, an "inspirational figure at the top of his game".

And Frank Lennon, Dunblane High School head teacher, added: "It is appropriate that this ceremony is taking place in the Murray Hall, named so before any Grand Slams or Olympic gold medals were won.

"In this sense, the school recognises the aspiration, dedication, effort and family support that has characterised Andy Murray's success. These are ideals to genuinely inspire our young people."

Murray, who is also the Olympic singles champion and won the US Open in 2012, became a Doctor of the University of Stirling in recognition of his services to tennis.

He said: "I trained on the courts at the Scottish national tennis centre at the University of Stirling when I was growing up and I remember playing against the students, which was great fun.

"I know there are many talented junior players practising there every day and I'd encourage them to keep working hard toward their goals."

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