Matt Walls receives Freedom of the Borough

Date published: 09 September 2021

Olympic cycling champion Matt Walls was awarded Honorary Freedom of the Borough status by Oldham council last night.

The 23-year-old from Shaw is possibly the youngest ever recipient of award from the borough.

He claimed gold in the omnium event in Tokyo before adding a silver medal alongside teammate Ethan Hayter in the madison a couple of days later.

Announcing the appointment at last night’s full council meeting, The Mayor, Cllr Jenny Harrison, praised Matt for his “eminent services” to the borough.

Earlier, Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “Matt’s performances in Tokyo were brilliant – especially as he had to overcome the disappointment of the Olympics being postponed the year before.

“Oldham is proud of him; we want him to continue winning medals and I hope he inspires other young people to get in the saddle and follow in his footsteps.

“Our MPs, Jim McMahon, Debbie Abrahams and Angela Rayner wrote to me proposing him for the Borough’s roll of honour. It’s a fantastic idea so I’m delighted to be backing his nomination.”

The Freedom of the Borough is the highest accolade that the council can bestow.

The former Crompton House pupil will  receive it during a ceremony on a date to be confirmed.

Matt is only the 27th person to receive the prestigious award since 1909.

Previous recipients include Dame Sarah Lees, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Norman Stoller and fellow sports stars Nicola White and Kevin Sinfield.

Matt’s proud parents Larry and Lorraine told the Chronicle: "Lorraine and I are very proud of this very special accolade, and to be honoured with such a prestigious title is hard to believe to be quite honest.

"We would like to thank everyone in the borough who has supported his nomination and Matt is very thankful of the people who have helped him along the way."

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