Edinburgh, United Kingdom (PressExposure) June 26, 2009 -- In the Homecoming event of the year, Dumbarton born and bred Sir John Young Stewart OBE, better known around the globe to his millions of fans as Sir Jackie Stewart and internationally renowned for his incredible achievements in Formula One Racing from 1965 - 1973, has returned home to be honoured as a Freeman of West Dunbartonshire.
Sir Jackie is spending the day in West Dunbartonshire, visiting old haunts, and will receive the Freemanship (http://www.wdcweb.info/council-and-democracy/news/features/jackie-stewart-honoured/) at a special ceremony in the Dumbarton Municipal Buildings at 6.00pm. Local school children have given Sir Jackie a guided tour of his old primary school, now Dumbarton Academy, and will interview the racing great about his life and his achievements at a âJuniorâ Press Conference. They also presented Sir Jackie with a specially designed birthday cake to celebrate his 70th birthday.
Sir Jackie will later unveil a commemorative plaque to mark the house where he spent his childhood.
Speaking ahead of the event, First Minister Alex Salmond said: âIâm delighted that Sir Jackie is being made an Honorary Freeman of West Dunbartonshire. Sir Jackieâs remarkable sporting achievements have been celebrated on the international stage and are an inspiration to millions across the world. No less inspirational has been his tireless and very effective work to further the publicâs understanding of, and government support for the needs of young people with dyslexia. It is also particularly fitting, in Scotlandâs year of Homecoming, that Sir Jackie has been recognised by his âain folkâ. Iâm sure it will be a wonderful day for Sir Jackie â one to add to the many memorable moments of his life.â
Sir Jackie said: ââIt means a lot to me to be returning home. Itâs a huge compliment to be bestowed with the Freemanship of West Dunbartonshire. I have always been very proud of my Dumbarton origins and I am delighted that West Dunbartonshire (http://www.wdcweb.info) is proud of my achievements and is granting me with this wonderful honour. I am really delighted to have this recognition and was delighted to visit to my old primary school and the home where I grew up.â
Freedom of cities and boroughs were a medieval concept of "free status", when city and town charters drew a distinction between freemen and vassals of a feudal Lord. Early freedom ceremonies had great importance and granted the fortunate recipient the rights to enjoy privileges, such as the right to trade without paying taxes or duties and to own property, protection within the town and with some freemanships, the rights for the freemanâs sheep to graze for free.
Provost Denis Agnew adds, âI personally consider it a great privilege that I will see Sir Jackie unveil the plaque commemorating the home where he spent his formative years. I trust that all our community will join me in sharing a tremendous sense of civic pride in his acceptance as a Freeman of West Dunbartonshire. This is indeed a real Homecoming for a local legend and world renowned Champion!â
Sir Jackie was recognised for his services both to motorsport and the motor manufacturing industry, by the award of the OBE in 1972 and subsequently a Knighthood in 2001 and has been awarded of several honorary doctorates from as far afield as Michigan, Glasgow Caledonian University, the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, the University of Stirling, Cranfield University and most recently Edinburgh University.
Sir Jackieâs reputation as a motivational speaker has inspired many, particularly with stories about his struggle at school and how he was considered unintelligent and academically challenged, and subsequently bullied. Since being diagnosed with Dyslexia at 42, Sir Jackie has worked tirelessly as the President of Dyslexia Scotland. He is Vice-President of the British Dyslexia Association and a Founder and Vice-President of the Scottish International Education Trust and sits on the International Advisory Board to the Scottish Parliament.
Sir Jackie said: âHopefully one day we will have a teacher who specialises in learning disabilities, or learning differences, in every primary school. Early diagnosis is the biggest and most important thing you can get to help a young person.â
West Dunbartonshire Council Chief Executive, David McMillan said: âIn view of Sir Jackieâs tough experience as a child at school due to his Dyslexia, we wanted to show him the teaching support that is in place in all West Dunbartonshire schools to support children with this and other learning difficulties. I am thrilled at his pending visit and in the few meetings that we have had, I have been blown away by his incredible energy and enthusiasm. He is indeed a fantastic Ambassador for West Dunbartonshire.â
Sir Jackie has recently launched his biography âWinning is not enoughâ in paperback.
CONTACT Lynn McAdam Press Officer West Dunbartonshire Council 01389 737 297 07967 804 257