The cre­ator of Grange Hill, Brook­side and Hol­lyoaks was back in the spot­light this month, as well as sup­port­ing his wife, Alexis, in her role as High Sher­iff of Cheshire Cheshire Life: De­cem­ber 2018

Cheshire Life - - Liverpool -

Avery spe­cial month this one, as I stepped from be­hind the High Sher­iff of Cheshire to re­ceive the Free­dom of the City of Liver­pool. It was an amaz­ing feel­ing to re­ceive this hon­our, the high­est a city can be­stow.

When asked to choose a date, one im­me­di­ately came to mind. Novem­ber 2nd. It was on that date, 36 years ago that Brook­side was first trans­mit­ted and Bri­tain’s car­diac ar­rest rate among soap watch­ers went through the roof. Hav­ing de­cided the date, I then had to de­cide on a venue. In­stead of go­ing to the Town Hall or other civic build­ing, I opted for a place that had fea­tured of­ten in my ca­reer, the Mersey­side Mar­itime Mu­seum.

It was there that I held many a board meet­ing dur­ing my term as Chair of Na­tional Mu­se­ums Liver­pool, but more than that, it was where the city al­lowed me to host a wel­com­ing re­cep­tion for Chan­nel 4 back in 1982. That too was a spe­cial oc­ca­sion as the mu­seum was still be­ing fit­ted out, not yet open to the pub­lic but was the first tan­gi­ble sign of the Al­bert Dock’s re­vival. An­other con­nec­tion was the Queen. I was present when she opened the mu­seum as the key­stone at­trac­tion in the Al­bert Dock and in 2011 I wel­comed her back to open the Mu­seum of Liver­pool, a short walk from the Mar­itime, and then the lat­est sym­bol of the re­gen­er­a­tion of the iconic water­front. In 2012, I was again priv­i­leged to host Her Majesty at the Mar­itime Mu­seum, where she chose to fin­ish her North West ju­bilee tour.and the Al­bert Dock was where I came out with that now fa­mous line about Liver­pool’s time as Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture be­ing just like a great scouse wed­ding.

The Free­dom civic cer­e­mony was an in­cred­i­ble mo­ment and I was truly moved by the speeches, kind com­ments and the num­ber of old friends and col­leagues who turned out in sup­port. You never achieve much in life with­out the sup­port of oth­ers.

How­ever, it was soon back to hand­bag car­ry­ing du­ties at the Le­gal Ser­vice at Ch­ester Cathe­dral, dur­ing which our long-stand­ing friend Bishop James Jones gave the ser­mon.

Also this month: the HS opened Tar­por­ley Pri­mary’s new build­ing; at­tended the 50th an­niver­sary of Up­ton-by-ch­ester High; the ded­i­ca­tion of the new War Memo­rial in Knutsford; vis­ited two thought pro­vok­ing art ex­hi­bi­tions by pris­on­ers and vic­tims of abuse; en­joyed the Cheshire Busi­ness Awards; got me to speak at the Uni­formed Youth Or­gan­i­sa­tions con­fer­ence at Dares­bury Sci­ence Park, a treat in it­self, as was the din­ner for 100 Years of The Women’s Vote hosted by the Mayor of War­ring­ton, Coun Karen Mundry.

Oh, and to the ques­tion, what do you get with the Free­dom of the City? Just a cer­tifi­cate. The sheep thing is a bit of a myth and as some­one said on the night, ‘These days, you get nowt for free.’ But you know what, you do. A very strong and warm glow of pride.

“With the Free­dom of the City you get a cer­tifi­cate. The sheep thing is a bit of a myth”

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