Unbelievable Chris! Kamara granted freedom of Wakefield

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Chris Kamara MBE has been awarded Freedom of the City in recognition of his services to charity and the city of Wakefield.

The ex-professional football player and punditry national treasure was presented with the honour by the Mayor of Wakefield, Cllr Josie Pritchard, at a civic ceremony, followed by a private reception in his honour.

Chris Kamara MBE said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded Freedom of the City of Wakefield. It’s been an absolutely unbelievable day!

“I have lived in Wakefield longer than anywhere else. The people and the places are amazing, and it will always be our home. 

“I’m blown away by it, this honour really means the world to me.” 

He has been involved in raising millions for many charities over the years, including for Show Racism the Red Card and as a national ambassador for Marie Curie.

In recent years, Chris has been instrumental in raising awareness for apraxia after being diagnosed with the condition himself in 2022.

Cllr Josie Pritchard said: “Chris is a local and national legend and an inspiration to so many people. We are absolutely delighted to have given him the highest honour we can bestow – Freedom of the City.

“He has been a massive supporter of many charities, raising millions and making a difference to the lives of many. Locally, he is an active supporter of Wakefield Hospice, Andy’s Man Club and Pinderfields Hospital, to name but a few.”

“Chris is a true ambassador of our city and we’re delighted to award him this honour today. 

“His contribution to charity and our city really is – unbelievable.”

Cllr Denise Jeffery

Leader of Wakefield Council

Cllr Denise Jeffery

During his 20-year football career, Chris played for nine English professional clubs. He made a combined 641 appearances for Bradford City, Leeds United, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Swindon Town, Stoke City, Luton Town and Brentford, scoring 71 goals and gaining 3 promotions. He then went on to manage Bradford City and Stoke City a total of 126 times, leading Bradford to promotion in 1996.

His personality and enthusiasm made him a household favourite as a presenter and football analyst on Sky Sports from 1998 to 2022. In particular he was a mainstay on Soccer Saturday between 1999 and 2022, bringing games to life with a unique turn of phrase, including infamously observing Spurs players were ‘fighting like beavers’ during a derby match with Arsenal.

Chris was appointed MBE in the 2023 New Year Honours list for services to football, anti-racism and charity.

Freedom of the City is the highest honour Wakefield Council can give to an individual or organisation that has served in some exceptional capacity. It is a ceremonial recognition of their role and the contribution they have made. 

Previous recipients of the honour include former chairman of the Rugby Football League, Sir Rodney Walker, Wakefield Trinity legend Neil Fox MBE and The 3rd Battalion The Rifles Regiment. 

The ceremony can be watched again at www.youtube.com/@WakefieldCouncilWMDC/streams 

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