A move to give motorbike racing star Jonathan Rea the Freedom of the Borough of Mid & East Antrim crossed the finish line with a flourish on Monday night.
At a meeting of the council in Ballymena, councillors unanimously agreed to offer the speed king the award.
A Notice of Motion proposed by Alderman Gregg McKeen, seconded by Councillor Paul Reid, said: ‘That this Council confers the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Mid and East Antrim on Dr J Rea, MBE, in recognition of his success in World Superbike competition, including a record breaking 4th successive title in a row, and to the sport of motorcycling internationally.”
A date for the Freedom ceremony will now be set.
Alderman McKeen said: “Jonathan’s career to date has been nothing short of incredible. He is one of the greatest sportspeople our country has ever produced.
“Most people can only dream of winning one world title – but Jonathan has sealed four, and he’s determined to add to that tally.
“The word hero is often overused but in Jonathan we in Mid and East Antrim have someone who is truly fitting of that description.
“He is a wonderful ambassador for our area and an inspiration to so many throughout Northern Ireland, and around the world.
“I am delighted this Council will award its highest accolade to Jonathan.”
Councillor Paul Reid said: “Despite his success, Jonathan has never forgotten his roots.
“He is a proud past pupil of Larne Grammar School and ensures he maintains his strong ties with the local community.
“This area has a strong affinity with motorsport and we are so proud that one of the greatest ever riders hails from Mid and East Antrim.
“Jonathan is the perfect example of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication, and he is the perfect role model for our young people.”
Recently Rea was given the Freedom of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough.