England cricket star James Anderson is to be granted the Freedom of his home town.
The Freedom of the Borough is the highest honour Burnley Council can bestow and is being awarded in recognition of James’s outstanding services to cricket.
The honour comes following a Burnley Express campaign earlier this year when former Burnley councillor and cricket enthusiast Harry Brooks called on the council to bestow the honour as James’s achievements have made him an aspirational role model for young people.
The Express put the idea to the council and the honorary title will be bestowed during an extraordinary meeting of the full council at Burnley Town Hall next Thursday.
James (29) who is one of the top fast bowlers in the world and known as “The Burnley Express”, will be the youngest recipient of the honour and family and friends will be in the council chamber to watch him become a Freeman of the Borough – the latest in a long line of success for the sportsman.
He said: “I’m honoured to be receiving the Freedom of the Borough. I grew up playing cricket for the local club and still have strong ties to the area. As a Burnley lad, born and bred, it also means a great deal to my family.”
The Mayor of Burnley, Coun. David Heginbotham, said: “James is Burnley born and bred and learnt his cricketing skill on local cricket pitches. He’s grown into an international sporting star and was one of the in-form players in England’s Ashes success earlier this year.
“He’s a great ambassador for Burnley and I know he’s someone that young people especially look up to as a role model and as someone they want to emulate. His sporting success story is one that will drive others to work and train hard to become sporting stars, in whatever field of sport they choose.
“It’s a great honour for me to bestow the council’s highest honour on James.”
The nomination, which will be made by Councillors Charlie Briggs and Andy Tatchell, states: “James was born and educated in Burnley. He played for Burnley Cricket Club and quickly moved on to playing for Lancashire and then for England.
“He has now represented his country in over 50 Test matches and more than 100 one-day internationals. His latest and greatest achievements were in the 2010/11 Ashes where he made a magnificent contribution to the England team’s success and, in doing so, giving the whole nation a boost.”
James attended St Theodore’s RC High School. He played cricket for Burnley in the Lancashire League and went on to represent Lancashire at county level and his country at international level. During England’s last Ashes tour of Australia he took 24 wickets in the 3-1 series victory and was recognised as one of England’s best performers of the tour. His test debut was against Zimbabwe at Lord’s in 2003.
James will be the 23rd recipient of the Freeman of the Borough honour in Burnley, following another local sporting hero Clarets legend Jimmy McIlroy in 2009.