Wales

Blaenau Gwent freedom for snooker champion Mark Williams

Mark Williams with councillor Mandy Moore
Image caption Mark Williams receives his accolade from council chairwoman Mandy Moore

World snooker champion Mark Williams said receiving the freedom of his local borough was one of the highest honours he has received in his career.

Williams, 43, said he was a "bit emotional" after councillors in Blaenau Gwent presented him the award on Thursday.

Born in the village of Cwm, Williams said his framed certificate would take pride of place in his snooker room.

He said it was a "privilege I never thought I would get".

Before he received his award he said the council asked that he attend the ceremony fully clothed, after he famously stripped off for a post-match interview following the 2018 World Snooker final.

'Got emotional'

"It was very nerve-wracking going into the [council] chamber," he said.

"I got a little bit emotional really, which is not like me.

"It's just a privilege for me and my family to receive an award like this.

"The council has been fantastic. The only thing they asked of me to come here was to make sure that I had clothes on."

Williams is the 10th recipient of the Freedom of the County Borough of Blaenau Gwent, following the Royal Welsh and the late Michael Foot, the area's former MP and Labour leader.

Williams' award was given in recognition of his sporting achievements, winning his third world championship and completing snooker's Triple Crown, winning the UK Championship, Masters and World Championships in the same season

Council chairwoman Mandy Moore said: "It's essential that we start recognising people that do so much for Blaenau Gwent, he's such a good role model."

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