A special ceremony was held at The Braid council building in Ballymena today to celebrate Sir William Wright CBE being awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Mid and East Antrim.
The honour pays tribute to individuals or organisations who have made an outstanding contribution to public life.
The businessman, who has a long association with bus building firm Wrightbus, was honoured at a special ceremony in front of family, friends, colleagues and special guests.
Councillors proposed and agreed the award in recognition Sir William’s contribution to global business and the local economy.
Sir William Wright CBE said: “To receive the Freedom of the Borough is a great honour, particularly as it is bestowed from my birthplace, the area where my business is based, and a place I am proud to call home.
“Over my lifetime I have had the privilege to take part in some memorable occasions and this event sits alongside the best of them.”
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Lindsay Millar, said the occasion was befitting as the work Sir William had carried out in the local economy was inspirational.
She added: “I am delighted to see so many people here today to recognise the outstanding work that Sir William has carried out over his illustrious career.
“His contribution to global business and the local economy is exceptional. An entrepreneur and pioneer in his field, Sir William, despite his worldwide success, has never forgotten his strong ties to Ballymena.
“His vision and dedication has put our borough firmly on the map as an area of manufacturing excellence and innovation.”
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council agreed to bestow the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Mid and East Antrim on Sir William in February 2018.
It followed a motion proposed by the previous Mayor, Councillor Paul Reid, and seconded by Councillor Audrey Wales MBE.
In April 2018, the Freedom of the Borough was conferred on Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for the County of Antrim, Mrs Joan Christie CVO, OBE.
Previous recipients of Freedom of the Boroughs conferred in the legacy council areas of Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus before 2015 include actor Liam Neeson OBE, Rev Dr Ian Paisley, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, the Royal National Lifeboat Association and rugby legend Syd Millar.