Milton Keynes Council have said they will begin the process to give English football captain Leah Williamson the Freedom of the City.
The move, which would be a first since Milton Keynes received city status, comes just after Williamson captained the England women’s team to their first major trophy success.
Williamson, 25, played the whole game as England beat Germany 2-1 in the Women’s Euros final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday (31/07), having previously played a part in all the games at the tournament.
A motion to do so was announced in a statement by Milton Keynes Council Leader Pete Marland earlier this week.
He said, “It is the most amazing achievement for England to become Champions of Europe.
“The Lionesses are an inspiration to everyone and have shown that through teamwork, ability and hard work, anything is possible. Like many others, I never thought I would be able to say that England have won a major football tournament in my lifetime.
“Bobby Moore and Leah Williamson, that is good company as the only two England football captains ever to lift a major international trophy. Obviously, we are immensely proud that Leah is from Milton Keynes, and I think it would be totally appropriate that the very first person to be given the Freedom of the New City of Milton Keynes is the first woman to lead a national side to international honours and is from MK. I have asked that the Council start the process of bestowing the honour on her.”
Williamson was born in MK and attended schools in Newport Pagnell. She joined Arsenal’s youth ranks at the age of 9, and has made over 180 appearances for the Arsenal team in all competitions since making her first team debut in 2014, including winning a WSL and 2 FA Cup titles as well as the Euro’s title earlier this week.
In his remarks, Marland said he was also proud at Milton Keynes hosting four games in the competition, and that he hoped a lasting legacy was to inspire women to take part in more sport and for a greater appreciation of women’s sport more generally.
“I am so proud that Milton Keynes hosted four matches and played our part in the greatest achievement in English football since 1966, including attracting a full house at Stadium:MK for the second semi-final. I’d like to thank all the teams and supporters that made those matches so special. Yet again, we as a city had the vision and confidence to back the tournament when many others did not.
“I hope the win will have a lasting impact on women’s sport and I’m sure it has both inspired a new generation of women and girls to go out and take part in whatever their chosen sport is, as well as changing the attitude of many others to women’s sport in general. Our host city bid promised to increase the number of girls playing the game and double the number of trained women’s coaches in the city. The Lionesses’ win is just the beginning of unlocking so much potential, so if you’ve been inspired, today is the day you can also make a difference and be part of a winning legacy.”