Freedom of the City of Aberdeen: Denis Law honoured in conferral ceremony


Denis Law CBE has been awarded the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen at a ceremony underpinned by centuries of tradition.

The sporting hero and charity ambassador had the honour bestowed upon him at a special event at the Beach Ballroom in his home city today (25 November 2017).

While the Freedom of the City dates back to the 12th century, current features of the modern ceremony first become apparent in the 18th century.

Key features of the Freedom of the City conferral included the reading of the Burgess Ticket, which is an extract from the Freedom Roll, the signing of the Freedom Roll, the presentation of a casket to hold the Burgess Ticket and the pinning of the ticket to the honorary freeman’s hat. Denis wore a Scotland cap, provided by the SFA for the occasion.

Denis Law said: “To get the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen is a real highlight in my life and something I will never forget – and to get another Scotland cap is fantastic!

“It was very emotional, looking around the audience and seeing all of our family and people from Aberdeen. It was a proud day for our children and grandchildren - they have never been to something like this and it was a very special event.

“I was looking forward to it but was nervous about the occasion. Fortunately my good friend the Lord Provost gave me his backing and it went very well. The Council and everyone involved in organising the day did a magnificent job – it was lovely.”

The Lord Provost of Aberdeen Barney Crockett said: “Today’s ceremony was a fantastic occasion to honour an incredible individual, a man who put Aberdeen on the world map and who has never forgotten his roots.

“He will always be recognised a hero for his sporting achievements, but Denis is also a charity figurehead and has been a driving force for the efforts of the Denis Law Legacy Trust in Aberdeen. Through the Trust he is making a lasting difference to the lives of young people in the city and he deserves enormous credit for that.

“Denis Law has received the Freedom of the City today and with it comes the best wishes and goodwill of everyone in Aberdeen.”

The newly installed Freeman of the city will be given a hero’s reception tomorrow (26 November) when he leads a parade down Union Street. Starting at 5.30pm from Albyn Place and moving to the Castlegate, Denis Law is expected to greet crowds from the Town House balcony at around 6.15pm.

Today’s ceremony marked the first conferral to take place in Aberdeen since Scotland the What? received the honour in 2008 and 18 years since fellow football legend Sir Alex Ferguson was honoured. Previous recipients include international figures such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Nelson and Winnie Mandela as well as eminent UK politicians, including Sir Winston Churchill.