‘Humbled’ Louis Smith and Peterborough’s Paralympic medallists given freedom of the city

Louis Smith at home
Louis Smith at home
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Olympic gymnast Louis Smith, and Paralympians James Fox and Lee Manning, have been given the freedom of the city.

The three Peterborough medallists from the recent Rio Games were awarded the honour yesterday evening (Wednesday, December 14) at a special Peterborough City Council meeting.

Louis, from Eye, has won four Olympic medals during his career, including a silver on the pommel horse in Rio.

Lee, meanwhile, won bronze at Rio in wheelchair basketball, while James won gold for rowing.

Louis said: “So humbled and honoured to be awarded freedom of the city. Thank you so much to Peterborough Council for seeing me as deserving of the award.”

One of the members of the council’s honours panel who backed Louis becoming a freeman, Cllr Mohammed Jamil, had previously said he was opposed to him receiving the honour.

This was after a video which appeared to show Louis mocking Islam hit the news.

However, the Labour councillor said Louis’ subsequent contrition over the video had swayed him to change his mind.

He said: “Louis has apologised publicly and accepted he had made an mistake.

“He then came on to Radio Salaam with Ansar Ali and apologised to his error.

“I truly believe he was sorry for his actions and words.

“As a Muslim we are told that we must forgive if one makes a mistake and then asks for forgiveness.”

Three former city councillors have also been awarded the status of Honorary Alderman.

They are former mayor Charles Swift, a councillor for 62 years, Adrian Miners, a councillor for 36 years, and Sheila Scott, who served as a cabinet member for children’s services.