Luke Campbell to be granted freedom of Hull: Olympic gold medallist would be city's youngest recipient of honour
PLANS are under way to grant Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell the freedom of Hull.
The boxer, 24, would become the youngest to be granted the civic honour and only the second sportsman in history.
The only other sportsman to receive the freedom of the city is rugby league legend Johnny Whiteley.
Last night, city leaders said they will set the ball rolling to make sure it becomes a reality.
City council leader Steve Brady said: "It is certainly going to be top of our agenda over the next few weeks and I think it could happen.
"These things have to go through a process but I can't think of anyone who would object.
"Luke is a real example to others.
"He has been so modest despite his tremendous achievements and he has certainly raised the profile of the city.
"He has conducted himself incredibly well since winning the gold medal and has come across as a really smashing lad."
Luke shone in front of an audience of millions to take gold from John Joe Nevin in the Bantamweight final at London 2012 on Saturday.
His gold earned him not only a gold post box and a gold phone box, but also the admiration and respect from the whole city for his unwavering determination, focus and dedication to his sport.
And the Hessle Road lad has been quick to speak of his pride of his home city to the world's media.
Mr Brady said: "I think young people in particular can really relate to how he has worked hard to get where he has.
"He has probably done more to promote Hull in the last few days than anything we have done as a council over the last few years.
"In every interview, he says how proud he is of coming from Hull. "You can't really put a price on publicity like that."
Hull East MP Karl Turner supports the idea of granting the freedom of the city to the young boxer.
"Obviously, it's not up to me but if it was, I would have no hesitation," he said.
"I've already seen Luke's trainer Mick Bromby and told him I'm going to pull out all the stops to make him Sir Mick."
The title of honorary freeman of the city is bestowed to people for their service to the community.
Luke will be in exalted company if he is granted the freedom of Hull.
Past recipients of the honour include Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and John Prescott.
Hull-born rugby league legend Johnny Whiteley became the first sportsman to receive the freedom of the city in 2009.
The title can only be given by Hull City Council and is purely an honorary one.
The only perks are invitations to civic events, a free parking space at the Guildhall and a flag being flown at half mast at the council headquarters upon death.
The first honorary freeman of Hull was the Marquis of Ripon in 1885.
Other recipients have included industrialist Sir James Reckitt, fishing magnate Christopher Pickering, philanthropist Thomas Ferens and renowned architect Sir William Gelder.
The city's adopted battleship HMS Iron Duke was admitted as an honorary freeman in 1984.