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Mike Layland may get the Freedom of the City
ONE of Worcester's most famous sons could be handed the Freedom of the City next week - with a crunch vote taking place.
Mike Layland retired from politics in 2012 after a remarkable 44 years in public life.
Now a motion will be voted on at Worcester City Council on Tuesday to grant him the rare accolade, joining the likes of Worcester Warriors owner Cecil Duckworth, Sir Edward Elgar and former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin in becoming one of the city's honoured men.
Mr Layland, 77, said it would be "the greatest honour I've ever had" to become a Freeman of Worcester.
The motion, created by Worcester's Conservative group, will need support from two thirds of the chamber to be approved.
Mr Layland, who was Mayor of Worcester twice, as well as a former city Chamberlain and High Sheriff, said: "If this happens it'd be fantastic for me, gosh.
"It would be the greatest honour I've ever had.
"For me, to grow up as one of seven in Diglis Road, to be given the Freedom of the City, I would be so grateful."
One year after his retirement several politicians suggested Mr Layland should be given the accolade, but it remained off the agenda until now.
The Conservative group says the timing is vital because they want him to enjoy the award before he gets too old.
Mr Layland, of Shap Drive, Warndon, had a heart attack in September last year.
He is still active volunteering as a trustee, chairman or vice-chair on various community bodies, including Perdiswell Young People’s Leisure Club.
Tory Councillor Roger Knight said: "This is absolutely the right time - this guy had been a staunch supporter of Worcester as a city for more than 40 years.
"It would be a very, very small reward for what he's given to Worcester and would be one of the best things the council has ever done.
"This isn't about politics, it's about a man who has put so much into public life for the city."
Councillor Marc Bayliss, Conservative group deputy leader, said: "Worcester News readers can show their support by contacting their local councillor to say they support this, or turn up at the meeting.
"Look at what he's achieved, 44 years service, that's longer than I've been born.
"He has lived and breathed Worcester, was born in Diglis Road, it's real Roy of the Rovers stuff.
"Irrespective of political parties, there can be few who could doubt his contribution."
Mr Layland was first elected in 1966 as a Labour councillor before leaving to become an independent, representing the Nunnery ward.
For all but two of the last 46 years, he has been a councillor.
The motion says the award would recognise his "lifelong contribution" to the "democratic, social and cultural well-being" of Worcester.
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