Proposals for a new system to recognise people who have made an outstanding contribution to Manchester will be put to Manchester City Council’s next full meeting in July.
This would include granting honorary citizenship of Manchester to those from outside Greater Manchester who have made a significant contribution to the city. It is proposed that the first recipient of this new honour is Ariane Grande. This would be in recognition of her role in organising the One Love Manchester concert on June 4 which has so far raised almost £3 million for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund set up for victims of the May 22 Manchester Arena terror attack.
It is also recognised that there were a great many selfless acts and demonstrations of community spirit in the aftermath of the atrocity and an event will be held later in the year to recognise those who made significant contributions.
Civic leaders have thought for some time that there is a need for a new system of honours in addition to the rarely-awarded freedom of the city, which will remain the highest honour the city can give, and the Council’s Be Proud awards which celebrate the commitment of individuals and groups who volunteer their time to help their communities.
The freedom of the city has only been awarded four times this millennium – to broadcaster and ‘cultural catalyst’ Anthony H Wilson (2007), England and Manchester United FC legend Sir Bobby Charlton (2008), the Manchester-based GB Cycling and Paracycling Teams (2008) and Nobel Prize-winning University of Manchester professors Sir Andrei Geim and Sir Konstantin Novoselov, discoverers of wonder-substance graphene (2013) and will remain a relatively rare occurrence.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This seems a fitting moment to update the way we recognise those who make noteworthy contributions to the life and success of our city.
“We’ve all had cause to be incredibly proud of Manchester and the resilient and compassionate way in which the city, and all those associated with it, have responded to the terrible events of 22 May – with love and courage rather than hatred and fear.
“Ariana Grande exemplified this response. I think many people would already consider her an honorary Mancunian and we would be delighted, if the Council approves the proposal, to make it official.”
The proposals will be discussed in detail at the next full Council meeting on Wednesday 12 July.