Two of Stoke-on-Trent’s sporting celebrities are to receive the city’s highest honour.
World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks and former Potters kit man Neil Baldwin will each be given the Freedom of the City at a special ceremony.
The pair received their accolades after Stoke-on-Trent City Council voted unanimously during a meeting today (October 16).
Footballer Banks, 76, who won the World Cup with England in 1966, played the majority of his career with Stoke City and helped them to League Cup victory in 1972 – their only major silverware.
He is viewed by many fans as the club’s greatest between the sticks and still lives locally.
Cllr Adrian Knapper, who proposed Banks for the honour, called him “an inspiration for many young people” and “one of the city’s favourite sons”.
The council also passed a motion giving the same privilege to 68-year-old Baldwin, affectionately nicknamed ‘Nello’.
Nominated for his “heart-warming inspirational perspective of life”, the Newcastle-under-Lyme native gained recognition from his work helping students at Keele University and his role as Stoke City’s talismanic kit man under manager Lou Macari.
His life was the subject of the recent BBC hit film ‘Marvellous’ which saw him portrayed by actor Toby Jones and gained critical acclaim.
Backing the proposal, Cllr Anthony Munday said: “What Neil has achieved in his life and for the city of Stoke-on-Trent is testament to his character.”
Cllr Paul Breeze added: “We should all be very proud to give Nello this honour and to have him come from our city.”