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Council Agrees to Confer Two Freedoms of the City

August 28, 2019

At the August meeting of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, councillors were delighted to unanimously approve two Freedom of the City Notices of Motion.

The first motion proposed by Alderman Allan Ewart MBE and seconded by Councillor Tim Mitchell, was to acknowledge the achievements of the internationally acclaimed Christian singer-songwriters Keith and Kristyn Getty.

The second motion, proposed by Alderman James Baird and seconded by Alderman Tim Morrow, was to recognise the outstanding contribution to the council area of Alderman Jim Dillon MBE, Geraldine Rice and Tommy Jeffers.

The council will confer its highest honour, the Freedom of the City of Lisburn & Castlereagh, on these five individuals at two separate ceremonies at Lagan Valley Island.

Keith Getty grew up in Lisburn; and while he now spends his time between Nashville and Lisburn with wife Kristyn he attributes his talent and dedication to Christian music to his formative years growing up in Lisburn supported by family, friends and the congregation of Elmwood Presbyterian Church.  When Keith met Kristyn they became an international duo who have brought joy to crowds of thousands of inspirational music supporters at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Carnegie Hall in New York and the SSE Arena in Belfast.

The council believes that current elected member Alderman Jim Dillon MBE and former elected representatives Geraldine Rice MBE and Tommy Jeffers have contributed significantly to the local area through their work supporting and developing local communities and the local economy.  Their contribution to Lisburn & Castlereagh, which collectively totals 98 years, has seen local facilities and services improve significantly for the betterment of everyone.  This includes Lisburn receiving City Status in 2002 under the navigation of then Mayor, Jim Dillon.

In 2001, Alderman Dillon MBE was one of the founders of the Pantridge Trust and raised £150,000 for the Trust as his identified Mayor’s Charity.  This led to defibrillators being available in facilities, organisations and businesses throughout the council area.

The current Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Alan Givan, speaking about the forthcoming Freedoms of the City, said: “This will be a great honour for both the council and the individuals involved.  It is very important that, as the local authority, we publicly acknowledge the significant achievements of our residents who have a lifetime of public service both locally and globally.”

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council has not yet set dates for these Freedom of the City of Lisburn & Castlereagh ceremonies.