Chris Kamara awarded Freedom of Wakefield at emotional ceremony to honour ex-footballer

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Chris Kamara has been awarded Freedom of Wakefield in recognition of his services to charity and the city .

The ex-professional football player and Sky Sports pundit was awarded the honour by Wakefield Mayor Josie Pritchard at a ceremony on Wednesday (May 15).

There were emotional scenes at County Hall as his friends, members of his family and political leaders paid tribute to him.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Coun leader Denise Jeffery said: “Freedom of the city is the highest honour that we can give to someone in our district.

Kammy has been involved in raising millions for many charities over the years, including for Show Racism the Red Card and as a national ambassador for Marie Curie.Kammy has been involved in raising millions for many charities over the years, including for Show Racism the Red Card and as a national ambassador for Marie Curie.
Kammy has been involved in raising millions for many charities over the years, including for Show Racism the Red Card and as a national ambassador for Marie Curie.

“It is reserved for those very rare people who make an exceptional contribution.

“Chris is an extraordinary person who has played an outstanding role for Wakefield.

“The first thing that everyone knows about Chris is what a fantastic ambassador he is for sport, for charity and our city.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Chris has been involved in raising millions for many charities over the years, including Show Racism the Red Card and as a national ambassador for Marie Curie.

Chris said; “I’m blown away by it, this honour really means the world to me.”Chris said; “I’m blown away by it, this honour really means the world to me.”
Chris said; “I’m blown away by it, this honour really means the world to me.”

In recent years, has has been instrumental in raising awareness for apraxia after being diagnosed with the condition himself in 2022.

Coun Jeffery added: “Chris is the most approachable, down-to-earth person you could ever wish to meet.

“He has time for everyone and, quite frankly, it’s a good job because he has thousands of fans.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“He is a relentless fundraiser for local and national charities.

Chris Kamara has been  awarded the Freedom of Wakefield in recognition of his services to charity and work as an ambassador for the city.Chris Kamara has been  awarded the Freedom of Wakefield in recognition of his services to charity and work as an ambassador for the city.
Chris Kamara has been awarded the Freedom of Wakefield in recognition of his services to charity and work as an ambassador for the city.

“Chris, you really are unbelievable.”

Chris, who attended the ceremony with wife Anne, children and grandchildren struggled to hold back tears as he accepted the award.

He said: “This is the longest we have lived anywhere.

“I was a bit of a nomad as a footballer. I really didn’t settle.

“So for us to be here for 34 years in Wakefield shows that it is really a great place.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I was born and bred in Middlesbrough, and I’m proud of that, but Wakefield is my home.

“I am humbled and grateful. I don’t feel worthy. But what an honour. Thank you so much for making it a memorable day.”Afterwards he said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded Freedom of the City of Wakefield. It’s been an absolutely unbelievable day!

“I’m blown away by it, this honour really means the world to me.”

Wakefield Mayor Josie Pritchard said: “Chris is a local and national legend and an inspiration to so many people.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We are absolutely delighted to have given him the highest honour we can bestow – Freedom of the City.

“He has been a massive supporter of many charities, raising millions and making a difference to the lives of many.

“Locally, he is an active supporter of Wakefield Hospice, Andy’s Man Club and Pinderfields Hospital, to name but a few.”

Sons Ben and Jack also paid tribute.

Ben joked: “Dad is the only person who can get away with not doing a job properly and become a national treasure.

“As a player, Dad had more clubs than Wakefield’s Westgate.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Some celebs will go along to the opening of a bag of crisps. But that’s not Dad – unless it’s a curry house.

He added: “In all seriousness, we couldn’t be prouder of what he’s achieved and continues to achieve.

“We have lived in Wakefield over 30 years and people still love having photos with him and shouting ‘unbelieveable Jeff’ wherever he goes.

“Wakefield was not his birthplace, our ours, but he has made it our home town for our family. We all love that. So well done on the award, Sir Dad!”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

During his 20-year football career, Chris played for nine English professional clubs.

He made a combined 641 appearances for Bradford City, Leeds United, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Swindon Town, Stoke City, Luton Town and Brentford.

He then went on to manage Bradford City and Stoke City a total of 126 times, leading Bradford to promotion in 1996.

His personality and enthusiasm made him a household favourite as a presenter and football analyst on Sky Sports from 1998 to 2022.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In particular he was a mainstay on Soccer Saturday between 1999 and 2022, bringing games to life with a unique turn of phrase, including infamously observing Spurs players were ‘fighting like beavers’ during a derby match with Arsenal.

Chris was appointed MBE in the 2023 New Year Honours list for services to football, anti-racism and charity.

Freedom of the City is the highest honour Wakefield Council can give to an individual or organisation that has served in some exceptional capacity.

It is a ceremonial recognition of their role and the contribution they have made.

Previous recipients of the honour include former chairman of the Rugby Football League, Sir Rodney Walker, Wakefield Trinity legend Neil Fox MBE and The 3rd Battalion The Rifles Regiment.