Three Yorkshire and England stars have been given the freedom of Bradford for their contributions to cricket.
Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid MBE and Harry Brook were made Honorary Freemen of The City of Bradford at a special ceremony yesterday, (Monday, 21 August 2023).
Bairstow and Rashid,were part of England’s extraordinary ‘super over’ victory in the final of the 50-over competition against New Zealand at Lord’s on 14 July 2019.
In recognition of that feat – England’s first World Cup crown in 12 attempts – Bradford Council’s Freemen of the City selection panel recommended in 2020 that Bairstow and Rashid should become the eighth and ninth to receive the honour.
Bairstow said: “It’s a huge honour, being one of the first 10 people to have received this and it’s a very proud moment for me and my family.
“It’s not something that’s just handed out and to be among people like Brian Noble, it shows the gravitas of the accolade.”
Rashid became the first South Asian man to be awarded this honorary accolade and was proud of the achievement.
He said: “It’s a great honour and a good achievement for myself, the people of Bradford and my family and friends.
“It’s not often that things like this come along.
“It’s massively important for me, as a role model in a sense to give back to the community, the younger generation and get them involved in sport.
“It’s showing them that anything is possible, even if you come from Bradford.”
Brook, who was born in Keighley and grew up in Burley-in-Wharfedale plays for Yorkshire County Cricket Club, made his international debut for England in January 2022 and was part of the England team that won the 2022 T20 World Cup.
He was also the Professional Cricketers Association Young Player of the Year for both 2021 and 2022 and the Cricket Writer’s Club Young Cricketer of the Year for 2021. He was also the International Cricket Council World Player of the Month in December 2022 and February 2023.
Brook was nominated for freedom of the city by Bradford Council leader Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe at a meeting in May.
He said: “Having my family here has made it even better.
“There are such famous names and it’s awesome to be on the same list as them.
“We play this game to inspire generations and to entertain and I hope to see some of them at Headingley over the next days and years to come.”
Before the ceremony in Bradford’s City Hall the star trio met with young cricketers from the District. There were also cricket activities outside City Hall organised by the Yorkshire Cricket Board.
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “Adil, Harry and Jonny have been selected not only because they are exceptional sportsmen but also outstanding role models for young people and communities right across the Bradford District.
“The Freedom of the City is a fitting accolade and mark of respect to reflect the admiration and pride they have inspired across the district – and indeed the country. And they will be joining an impressive band of previous recipients of our city’s highest honour.”
Lord Mayor of Bradford Cllr Gerry Barker, said: “Granting the Freedom of the City is a rare occurrence and this important honour recognises people who have made an important contribution in the city, district and country. It will be a proud day to give these three cricketers this honour.”
The Roll of Honorary Freemen of the City was created in the late nineteenth century. The first name admitted to the roll was that of Sir Henry Mitchell, a former Mayor, philanthropist and mill owner. Since that time other famous Bradfordians such as JB Priestley (1973), Barbara Castle (1997) and David Hockney (2000) have been admitted to the roll.
The most recent recipients were rugby league coach Brian Noble (2006), The 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment (2010) and Sir Ken Morrison CBE (also 2010).