Page last updated at 18:45 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

Giggs awarded freedom of Salford

Ryan Giggs with his award
Ryan Giggs was honoured for his exceptional contribution to Salford

Footballer Ryan Giggs has been awarded the freedom of the city of Salford.

Giggs said he felt "hugely proud and privileged" to receive the accolade at a ceremony at The Lowry arts centre.

Although born in Cardiff, Giggs has lived in the Worsley area of Salford for many years after signing for Manchester United as a schoolboy.

Previous recipients of the city's highest honour include former South African President Nelson Mandela, artist LS Lowry and David Lloyd George.

'Adopted city'

Giggs, who is BBC sports personality of the year, said: "To be given the freedom of Salford, my adopted city, has to rank amongst the greatest honours I have ever received.

"I feel hugely proud and privileged to be recognised in this way.

"You never expect to be awarded something like this."

The Mayor of Salford, councillor Roger Lightup, presented Giggs with his award.

'Exceptional contribution'

He said: "Freedom of the city recognises people who have made an exceptional contribution to our community and Ryan has devoted a tremendous amount of his time to work with charities and children over a number of years."

The medieval term "freeman" meant someone who was not the property of a feudal lord, but enjoyed privileges such as the right to earn money and own land.

Citizens made freemen today gain no real privileges but they do receive a scroll to mark their status and the pride the city has in them.

Giggs, who moved to Salford when he was seven, is the 22nd freeman of the city of Salford. The first was cotton magnate Benjamin Armitage in 1899.

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