Ballyclare Ulster Unionist Councillor David Arthurs has secured the Freedom of the Borough of Antrim and Newtownabbey for World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea. The motion, which was seconded by Cllr Tim Girvan of the DUP passed with unanimous support and the honour will be bestowed in the near future.
Speaking after the council session Cllr Arthurs said:
“I wanted to propose Freedom of the Borough for Jonathan Rea to mark his achievements of putting Northern Ireland, Antrim and Newtownabbey and his home town of Ballyclare on the world stage, and for his services to sport.”
“Jonathan is at the very top of his sport and as members of this Council and as residents of this Borough we should be very, very proud of his achievements to date. Achievements that were recognised by Her Majesty The Queen in her 2017 Birthday Honours List by awarding Jonathan an MBE for services to motorcycle racing. He was also runner up in the National BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2017 and he won the Northern Ireland Sports Person of the Year 2017.
“We have all seen how well Jonathan is regarded right across Northern Ireland, the Borough and in his hometown of Ballyclare by the two events we held in Sixmile Leisure Centre after his 2nd and 3rd World Championship wins. Conferring this honour is the right thing to do for such a wonderful ambassador for our Borough.”
Supporting his party colleague Steve Aiken MLA said:
“I want to congratulate and commend Cllr Arthurs for proposing this for Jonathan Rea. We all, as public representatives, value community role models and ambassadors like Jonathan Rea for reminding us and setting an example of what is great about Northern Ireland and our people.”