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Bradford set to offer cricket stars freedom of the city

England’s two Bradford-born World Cup winning cricketers, Jonny Bairstow and Adil Rashid, are set to become the latest Honorary Freeman of the City.

The pair, who both play for Yorkshire, were part of England’s extraordinary ‘super over’ victory in the final of the 50-over competition against New Zealand at Lord’s on 14 July 2019.

In recognition of that feat – England’s first World Cup crown in 12 attempts – Bradford Council’s Freemen of the City selection panel has recommended that Bairstow and Rashid should become the eighth and ninth to receive the honour.

An extraordinary meeting of the Council has been specially convened directly before the scheduled Full Council on Tuesday, 14 January. Two-thirds of those attending and voting are required to be in favour to approve the recommendation. A presentation ceremony would then be scheduled later in the year.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “After their exploits helping England to win the cricket World Cup for the first time last summer it was a no brainer to set the wheels in motion to recognise Jonny and Adil in this way.

Not only are they exceptional sportsmen but also outstanding role models for young people and communities right across the Bradford District.

“Freedom of the City would be a fitting accolade and mark of respect to reflect the admiration and pride they have inspired across the district – and indeed the country. And they would be joining an impressive band of previous recipients of our city’s highest honour.”

The Roll of Honorary Freemen of the City was created in the late nineteenth century.  The first name admitted to the roll was that of Sir Henry Mitchell, a former Lord Mayor, philanthropist and mill owner.  Since that time other famous Bradfordians such as JB Priestley (1973), Barbara Castle (1997) and David Hockney (2000) have been admitted to the roll.

The most recent recipients were rugby league coach Brian Noble (2006), 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment (2010) and Sir Ken Morrison CBE (also 2010).

Cllr John Pennington, Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “Only a few months ago I saw Adil playing in a match on a cricket field just off Allerton Road, that’s how grounded he is. Flip the coin to that great victory for England, in England, which people will remember for years to come – almost into folklore. We now have another two inspirational additions to our Freedom of the City of which they and we can be very proud.” 

The criteria for admission to the roll are that the person should have demonstrated distinguished and recent service, or made a significant beneficial and noteworthy contribution to the district or secured significant benefit to the district.


Jonathan Marc Bairstow was born in Bradford in 1989. He spent his early years in Bradford, first picking up a bat whilst toddling around Undercliffe Cricket Club where his father David Bairstow was a member.  His family subsequently moved to York where he completed his education.  But his ties with Bradford remain.

In recent years he has supported the redevelopment of Park Avenue as a major cricket venue and acted as an ambassador for inward investment to Bradford and the Leeds City Region. On the field of cricket he has been part of the England line-up since 2011, is an outstanding wicket keeper and the first England cricketer to score three consecutive one day international hundreds.  He won the inaugural ‘Young Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year Award’ in 2007.

Adil Usman Rashid was born in Bradford in 1988.  Adil honed his skills playing in the Bradford Cricket League for Bradford and Bingley. He’s been in the full England squad since 2008. In 2006 the ECB coach David Parsons considered him the most talented young leg spinner in the country and in 2007 he was described by Jason Gillespie as “probably the best young cricketer in the country”.

Since then Adil has become a seasoned all rounder playing at the highest level. He’s particularly known for his outstanding performance in one-day internationals.

Adil is an ambassador for the overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal, a Yorkshire-based charity which carries out much of its work in the Punjab region of Pakistan.  Here in Bradford the Adil Rashid Cricket Academy provides coaching and opportunities for the next generation of talent.

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