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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2006, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Freedom award for city champions
Denise Robertson
Denise Robertson appears regularly on television
Sunderland is honouring three people whose life and work has helped enrich communities in the city.

TV agony aunt Denise Robertson, businessman Sir Tom Cowie and surgeon Ram Banerjee were being granted the Freedom of Sunderland on Tuesday.

They were nominated for their contribution in their own fields as well as charity and community work and raising the city's profile.

Previous freemen include broadcaster Kate Adie and the crew of HMS Ocean.

Mr Banerjee received an OBE in 1986 and was awarded an honorary doctorate of law in 1994 for services to health and work in the community. He was a colonel in the Territorial Army and is chair of the Sunderland Volunteer Bureau.

Tireless support

Sir Tom Cowie founded the transport group Arriva. He received an OBE and was knighted in 1992. He has played leading roles in a range of community and charitable organisations.

Ms Robertson features on TV programme This Morning and is also the author of books, plays, magazine and newspaper articles and is a supporter of charities both locally and nationally.

Sunderland Council leader Councillor Bob Symonds said: "Ram Banerjee, Sir Tom Cowie and Denise Robertson have all made an outstanding contribution to the City of Sunderland.

"They have been tireless in their support of local schools, businesses, community projects and charities to name but a few and are a real credit to the city and to the people of Sunderland."




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