Birmingham & Black Country

Freedom of Wolverhampton award for Rachael Heyhoe-Flint

Former England women's cricket captain Baroness Rachael Heyhoe-Flint has been granted the freedom of Wolverhampton.

The honour is in recognition of her "eminent" services to her home city and to sport.

The baroness, who is also a vice-president of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club, was presented with a scroll and casket at a ceremony in the city centre.

She said she was "thrilled to bits" to become a freeman of the city.

Cricket career

Image caption Baroness Heyhoe-Flint also played hockey for England

Rachael Heyhoe-Flint captained the England team from 1966 to 1978 and led them to victory in the inaugural Women's World Cup in 1973.

She became the first woman to sit on the general committee of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in 2004 and also serves on the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Awarded the OBE in 2007, she later became Baroness Heyhoe-Flint and a working Conservative peer.

A longstanding fan of Wolverhampton Wanderers, she was appointed vice-president of the club at the start of the 2005-2006 season.

At the ceremony which was led by the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Malcolm Gwinnett, Baroness Heyhoe-Flint said: "I am really thrilled because all that I've done in Wolverhampton, I've done because I've loved doing it - helping all the various charities."

The honour traditionally meant freemen were entitled to drive sheep and cattle through the city centre.

In keeping with this, the former cricketer was joined by Lance Corporal Derby, the regimental ram of the Mercian Regiment.

Baroness Heyhoe-Flint has become the 13th honorary freeman nominated in the city since World War II.

Other people who have been made freemen of Wolverhampton include Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis, president of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club Sir Jack Hayward and cyclist Hugh Porter.

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