Walsall freeman honour for Slade's Noddy Holder

[gallery] Slade star Noddy Holder was handed the freedom of Walsall as fans cheered him on – and admitted he was 'choked up'.

Walsall freeman honour for Slade's Noddy Holder

The public gallery in Walsall's council chamber was full with fans watching the special ceremony last night, while around 250 people filled seats in the town hall to watch the event live on a big screen.

The musician, who was born in Caldmore, arrived in the chamber to claps and cheers, which continued throughout the ceremony.

After the council unanimously confirmed the motion, the roll of freeman was signed by the 68-year-old and Walsall's Mayor, Councillor Pete Smith, and the council's chief executive Paul Sheehan signed the illuminated scroll recording the musician's admission as honorary freeman of the borough.

After being presented with a silver casket containing the illuminated scroll by the mayor, he said: "It's not very often I get choked up but I am choked up tonight. This is a great thing for the profile of Walsall, especially for the arts world. The Black Country is still going strong.

"When people come here it's the people's hospitality that can't be beat."

He said he had flown the flag for the Black Country all over the world, adding: "I'm really, really chuffed. I can't tell you how much." He also read out a verse he had made about his home town which ended with: "Walsall is real, that's why I still call it home."

Just before the presentation, Councillor Smith said some fans had travelled from Manchester and Canada to be in the public gallery.

Councillor Mohammed Arif said:

"I think it's an honour that is well deserved."

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