Astronaut Tim Peake paid tribute to his Sussex home town this afternoon as he was awarded the rare honour of Freedom of the City.
Major Peake said it was an ‘honour’ to receive the award from Chichester City Council as he addressed eager guests at Chichester Festival Theatre.
Tim said: “I would like to say how pleased I am to be back in Chichester, in my home city and what a huge honour it is to receive the Freedom of Chichester award.
“Of course Chichester and the local area hold a very special place in my heart. It was decisions in those formative years that really shaped the rest of my life and ultimately led me into space.”
He thanked the Westbourne Scouts and Chichester High School for all they had taught him.
He also praised his family, who he says have supported him throughout his long career – one that he admits was not without risk.
Chichester Mayor Peter Evans conducted the ceremony – which dates back more than 800 years – and thanked ‘Chichester’s own spaceman’ for all he had done.
He told the audience: “The Freedom of City is the honour given to the few who have given extraordinary service.
“Tim you have promoted Chichester, the United Kingdom and served the rest of the world in broadening mankind’s knowledge of the sciences.”
Tim was presented with a framed scroll and signed the official roll to become a Freeman of the city of Chichester.
Couldn’t get tickets to the ceremony? Catch up with our video!