Wirral Council to award Glenda Jackson Freedom of Borough

Wirral Council has taken a step towards giving the late Glenda Jackson the borough’s highest honour.

Glenda Jackson, an Oscar-winning actress and Labour MP for 23 years died peacefully following a brief illness on June 15 2023 at the age of 87. The star was born in Birkenhead and her family later moved to Hoylake in west Wirral as a child.

Wirral Council is now looking to give the late actress the title of the Freedom of the Borough posthumously, the highest honour it can give. A regulatory committee unanimously recommended that the award be given at a full council meeting on 9 October.

This follows the award being given posthumously to the late Paul O’Grady. Other recipients include the Hillsborough 97 and Baron Frank Field of Birkenhead.

Jackson scooped a best actress Oscar in 1970 for Women In Love and again three years later for A Touch Of Class. She later left acting temporarily to serve as the MP for Hampstead and Highgate from 1992 to 2015 and served in Tony Blair’s government between 1997 and 1999.

After standing down in 2015 as MP, she returned to acting winning a Bafta for best actress in 2019 for her role in Elizabeth Is Missing, which followed Elizabeth Is Missing the story of a woman suffering from dementia.

Following her death, tributes came in across the political and acting worlds. At the regulatory committee meeting on 7 September, Cllr Mike Sullivan paid tribute to the “brilliant actor” and “superb human being.”

He added: “She gave great service to the country, not only to this, the Wirral and this award can not be bettered in my opinion. To grant her the Freedom of Wirral is a great honour.”

He said he remembered meeting Jackson when she was helping out with a production of Jesus Chris Superstar at the former Glenda Jackson theatre in Birkenhead describing the production as “superb.”

The Freedom award goes back to early medieval times and is given to “persons of distinction and any persons who have rendered eminent services to the Borough”. A special meeting with all councillors will be held on October 9 and would be followed by a ceremony with family members.

Lead image: Glenda Jackson (public domain)

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