Hartlepool to bestow its highest honour on filmmaker Sir Ridley Scott

Sir Ridley Scott
Sir Ridley Scott

Film director Sir Ridley Scott, who was awarded a Bafta Fellowship award this week, is set to receive another honour – the freedom of Hartlepool.

Hartlepool Borough Council leader Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher nominated Sir Ridley for the Freedom of the Borough.

Ridley Scott and partner Giannina Facio at Sunday's EE Bafta awards.  Photo Ian West/PA Wire.

Ridley Scott and partner Giannina Facio at Sunday's EE Bafta awards. Photo Ian West/PA Wire.

Talks are ongoing to arrange a time to present the director with the honour, which is the highest the council can bestow on anyone.

Sir Ridley, 80, praised West Hartlepool College of Art, now the College of Art and Design, for helping to set him on his path to Hollywood success when he received his Bafta on Sunday night.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “The council will be writing to Sir Ridley Scott to congratulate him on his recent and very well-deserved BAFTA Fellowship.

“Through his many achievements, Sir Ridley has brought great honour both to Cleveland College of Art and Design, and to the town as a whole.

Hartlepool Council Leader Christopher Akers-Belcher.''Picture: TOM BANKS

Hartlepool Council Leader Christopher Akers-Belcher.''Picture: TOM BANKS

“Following my nomination, the Civic Honours Committee and the Full Council agreed last year to bestow the Freedom of the Borough on Sir Ridley and discussions are ongoing to agree a date when he will be in the UK and available for us to formally bestow the honour upon him.

“We are also looking forward this spring to the installation at the Transport Interchange of the sculpture of the ‘Boy and Bicycle’ – from Sir Ridley’s 1960s black and white short film of the same name – in celebration of his links with the town.”

The last recipients to be granted the Freedom of the Borough last May by the council were Jill Kitching, the founder of Epilepsy Outlook; Mohammed Menabawey, who established Hartlepool hospital’s renowned fertility unit; and entrepreneur Alby Pattison of Hart Biologicals.

The 1st Hartlepool Boys’ Brigade Company, the first Boys’ Brigade Company to be formed in England in 1886, was also recognised.

Hartlepool’s MP Mike Hill said of Sir Ridley: “He clearly is passionate about the town and the education he received here.

“Awarding him the Freedom of the Borough is a wonderful gesture and is right and proper.

“He has proven himself to be a true ambassador for the town and an inspiration to everyone throughout his career.”

Other people to have received the honour include Lord Peter Mandelson and Sky Sports presenter and Pools fan Jeff Stelling.