England skipper Leah Williamson is granted her hometown freedom after helping lead the Lionesses to Euro 2022 glory.
Having helped end the nation’s 56-year wait to win international football trophies since the 1966 World Cup, Williamson will now be the first person to receive the freedom of Milton Keynes since Milton Keynes became a town, to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee.
Council President Pete Marland said: “Obviously we are very proud that Leah is from Milton Keynes and I think it would be perfectly fitting that the very first person to be granted freedom from the new town of Milton Keynes would be the first woman which takes the lead on a national site for international honors and is from MK.
“I have requested that the Council begin bestowing the honor on her.”
It comes after the 25-year-old defender, who was one of the standout English players at the tournament, led the Lionesses to a 2-1 win over Germany after extra time in the final at Wembley.
Mr Marland said: “The Lionesses are an inspiration to everyone and have shown that through teamwork, skill and hard work, anything is possible.”
Milton Keynes hosted four games during the tournament, including a full house for the second semi-final.
Mr Marland said the city had the “vision and confidence to support the tournament when many others didn’t” and hoped the event could lead to greater support for women’s sport.
He added: “I hope the win will have a lasting impact on women’s sport and I’m sure it inspired a new generation of women and girls to get out and participate in the sport of their choice as well to change the attitude of many others towards women’s sport in general.”
Lucy Bronze, 30, who is arguably one of the top right-backs in women’s sport according to the Football Association, is also likely to be awarded the Freedom of Northumberland.
In a social media post, Northumberland Councilor Guy Renner-Thompson said he had “proposed” a motion to be voted on in September and is calling for her to be given the honour.
Born in Berwick-upon-Tweed, the Bronze was previously named UEFA Female Player of the Year 2018/19 and Best Fifa Player 2020.
Chloe Kelly, the 24-year-old forward who scored the winning goal in the final of Euro 2022, has also been offered freedom of the Ealing borough, where she grew up.
A tweet from the Ealing Council account read: “Hello @Chloe_Kelly98, Ealing Council would like to offer you the freedom of the borough you grew up in #MadeinEaling.
“Thank you and congratulations!”
Super-sub Alessia Russo, 23, is also up for an “honourable recognition” from her old base in Maidstone, Kent, although town hall officials have not yet been able to say what it would be.
The forward won the hearts of sports fans with an outrageous heel goal in England’s semi-final win over Sweden.
Maidstone Mayor Derek Mortimer said: “It would be wonderful if there were a way for Maidstone Borough Council to give Alessia an honorable mention and I have set the wheels in motion to try and make that happen.
“Well done Alessia, everyone in Maidstone is so proud of you.”
Reading-born Fran Kirby, 29, was also very proud of her hometown, whose council leader Jason Brock said the region was “honored” that she was a championship winner.
Born and raised in Reading, 29-year-old Kirby played for Reading FC from the age of seven until joining Chelsea in 2015.
Mr Brock said: “The Lionesses are an inspiration to all, we hope the win will have a lasting impact on women’s sport and inspire a new generation of women and girls to get out and participate in the sport of their choice.”
He urged the community to support and celebrate women’s football by going to local games at the start of the new season.
Defender Lotte Wubben-Moy, 23, was also praised by Lutfur Rahman, the mayor of the borough of Tower Hamlets in east London, for being part of the Lionesses’ “truly monumental achievement”.
He said: “We are incredibly proud that one of the lionesses, Lotte Wubben-Moy, was born in Bow (Tower Hamlets).
“Lotte and the entire team are an inspiration to all of us, especially the girls and young women who want to follow in their footsteps. We will be there to support them.”