'Highest honour' for Adlington and Hynd
Rebecca Adlington (19) and Sam Hynd (17) will become the first individuals to ever be awarded the Freedom of the Mansfield District at a ceremony this evening (Friday 7th November).
The teenage swimming sensations put the district of Mansfield on the world sporting map at the Olympic and Paralympic Games this Summer and will receive the highest honour the town can bestow on one of its citizens.
Rebecca Adlington stunned the world by claiming two gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, breaking the 20 year-old 800m Freestyle World Record and becoming Britain's most successful swimmer for over a century in the process.
She was welcomed home in August this year when an estimated 20,000 locals lined the route of an open-top bus parade through her hometown.
Sam Hynd followed Rebecca's exploits by winning Gold in the Paralympic S8 400m Freestyle Final - held in the same pool – and breaking his own World record in the process. Sam also claimed a bronze medal in the 200m Individual Medley.
At the ceremony, the pair will be asked to declare: "... we will be subject and obedient to all good order and customs of this District. We shall not consent or do anything whereby this District or the Freedom thereof may be endangered.
If we happen to know of any conspiracy or mischief against this District, we shall with all convenient speed disclose the same to the Executive Mayor or the Managing Director; and we do further declare that in all things we will conduct ourselves as true and loyal freemen ought to do."
The Cantamus Girls Choir is the only previous recipient of the Freedom of the Mansfield District. Cantamus received the accolade in 2006 after winning a Gold Medal at the 2006 Choir Olympics, also held in China.
The new Mercian Regiment received the Freedom of the Borough of Mansfield in March this year. This followed the award to their predecessors, the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters (1970) and the Sherwood Foresters (1953).
As well as the Freedom awards, special Mayoral Commendations will be presented to a number of other local sporting achievers:
- Ben and Tom Birchall, 2008 FIM World Side Car Championships, 3rd place
- Charlotte Henshaw (swimming), Team GB 2008 Paralympics
- Arnie Chan (table tennis), Team GB 2008 Paralympics
- Chris Martin (discus), Team GB 2008 Paralympics, Silver medallist
- Oliver Wilson (golf), member of the 2008 European Ryder Cup Team
- Bill Furniss (swimming coach), Notts County Council Swimming Development Officer and coach to Rebecca Adlington
- Glenn Smith (swimming coach), Mansfield District Council Swimming Development Officer and coach to Sam Hynd
Tony Egginton, Mansfield District Council's Executive Mayor said: "We were delighted to host a send-off event for our Olympians and Paralympians in June this year but could never have imagined at that time what Rebecca and Sam in particular were going to go off and achieve what they did.
"Both in and out of the pool, Sam and Rebecca are fantastic ambassadors for our district and a credit to themselves, their families and Mansfield. We could not have wished for two greater role models for our young people to follow, or two more fitting recipients of the Freedom of Mansfield."