West Norfolk Council says sorry over footballer freedom nomination

The nomination of Mick Wright, seen here receiving a lifetime achievement award last year, to receive the Freedom of West Norfolk will now be considered next month
The nomination of Mick Wright, seen here receiving a lifetime achievement award last year, to receive the Freedom of West Norfolk will now be considered next month
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Council chiefs have apologised after they admitted mishandling the nomination of a former Lynn footballer to receive the freedom of the borough.

The bid to grant the civic honour to Mick Wright is now set to be considered next month, after supporters made a formal complaint against West Norfolk Council to the Local Government Ombudsman.

They argued that members and officers of the authority had breached their own rules by not referring his nomination to their ruling cabinet, as required.

And council officials have now formally apologised for that in a letter to one of Mr Wright’s nominators, the former Lynn player and manager, Keith Rudd.

Chief executive Ray Harding said: “We got it wrong, we have accepted that, and we’re doing what we can to put the mistake right.

“Ultimately it is my responsibility, which I fully accept. Members will now formally consider the proposal, as has been requested.”

Mr Rudd, who played alongside Mr Wright for Lynn, said he had achieved his objective of having the nomination properly considered.

But he added: “The council has shown itself up to be tardy and dismissive of the people it’s supposed to serve.

“What Mick achieved for our community in the 60s and 70s was outstanding.”

A campaign was launched in late 2015 to secure the freedom honour for Mr Wright, who made a total of 1,152 appearances for King’s Lynn Football Club over three decades, including 424 in succession between 1962 and 1968.

The bid received international support, with people from around the world signing an online petition in favour of the idea.

The nomination also received the backing of leading football journalist Henry Winter.

The nomination is now set to go before the borough council cabinet’s next meeting on April 11.

If supported there, it would then go before the full council, where a two-thirds majority is needed to approve it.