Ariana Grande to become first honorary citizen of Manchester
Pop star helped raise millions for victims of Manchester Arena terror attack
Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus perform during the One Love Manchester benefit concert for the victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack, at Old Trafford cricket ground on June 4th. Photograph: Dave Hogan/One Love Manchester/via Reuters
Ariana Grande is to become the first honorary citizen of Manchester for helping to raise millions of pounds for victims of the Manchester Arena attack.
The US pop star exemplified the “resilient and compassionate” way the city responded to the terror atrocity that claimed 22 lives and injured 220 others last month, council leaders said.
The new accolade came as town hall officials announced plans for an event to recognise the “great many selfless acts and demonstrations of community spirit” in the aftermath of the attack on May 22nd.
Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester city council, said: “This seems a fitting moment to update the way we recognise those who make noteworthy contributions to the life and success of our city.
“We’ve all had cause to be incredibly proud of Manchester and the resilient and compassionate way in which the city, and all those associated with it, have responded to the terrible events of 22 May, with love and courage rather than hatred and fear.
“Ariana Grande exemplified this response. I think many people would already consider her an honorary Mancunian and we would be delighted, if the council approves the proposal, to make it official.”
Ariana Grande helped to raise nearly £3 million when she returned to Manchester to perform a star-studded benefit concert at Old Trafford cricket ground just 13 days after the suicide bombing, which struck at the end of her concert at Manchester Arena 23 days ago.
The 23-year-old singer visited a number of injured children in hospital earlier this month. Her mother, Joan, who ushered concertgoers to safety backstage after the explosion in the arena foyer, was seen walking through the One Love Manchester crowd telling young fans not to give in to fear at the benefit concert on June 4th.
The accolade is part of plans for a new system to recognise people from outside Manchester who have made an outstanding contribution to the city, a spokesman for Manchester city council said.
Honorary citizenship is the highest honour a city can give apart from the rarely-awarded freedom of the city, which has only been awarded four times since 2000.
The stars granted the freedom of Manchester include broadcaster Anthony H Wilson, former England and Manchester United footballer Sir Bobby Charlton, the Manchester-based GB Cycling and Paracycling Teams, and the Nobel Prize-winning University of Manchester professors Sir Andrei Geim and Sir Konstantin Novoselov, who first isolated the wonder material graphene.
A Manchester city council spokesman added: “Civic leaders have thought for some time that there is a need for a new system of honours in addition to the rarely-awarded freedom of the city, which will remain the highest honour the city can give, and the Council’s Be Proud awards which celebrate the commitment of individuals and groups who volunteer their time to help their communities.”