Former England cricketer Roland Butcher received the Freedom of the City of London award on October 18th, in Guildhall, London.
The Barbadian-born Butcher made history in 1980-81 when he became the first black cricketer to play for England, making his test debut at Kensington Oval in
Bridgetown, St Michael. He played three Test matches and three One Day Internationals and also represented Middlesex from 1974 to 1990 when he eventually retired.
He was nominated for the award by City of London Corporation elected members Andrien Meyers and Keith Bottomley.
On receiving the award, Butcher said “It is a great honour and privilege and humbling to receive the Freedom of the City of London. I have been very fortunate to visit so many great places but
London is, by far, my favourite. Thank you to all the people involved”.
The City’s Corporation’s Deputy Policy Chairman Keith Bottomley said, “Roland is clearly both honoured and humbled to have received the Freedom of the City of London of which we are
rightly proud. He will surely be delighted to be following in the footsteps of other distinguished cricketers, including Sir Alastair Cook, Sajid Mahmood and Ebony Rainford-Brent.”
The tradition of the award goes back to 1237 and there is a long list of people who have had the honour of the award. Some of those people include Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Florence Nightingale, Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and several United States presidents like Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D Roosevelt, Dwight D
Prior to 1996, the Freedom award was only open to British or Commonwealth Citizens. However, now it has been extended globally and persons of any nationality may be admitted by presentation by a Livery Company or through nomination. The England Lionesses who won the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 and Harry Kane are scheduled to receive the award in the coming months.
Butcher was born in East Point, St. Philip, Barbados on October 14th 1953 and took his chance to represent the English national cricket team after he migrated to the United Kingdom.
In November 2004, he was appointed Director of Sports at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, a role he held until July 2019. He also played football semi-professionally for Steveange and Biggleswade.