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Page last updated at 11:18 GMT, Monday, 13 December 2010
Jimi Heselden's charity bequests honoured
jimi Heselden
Freedom of the city is the highest honour Leeds can present

Leeds City Council is to pay a posthumous honour to Jimi Heselden OBE.

The inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist is to be honoured alongside the freeman of the city.

Mr Heselden died in 2010 in an accident close to his home near Wetherby.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna said:"Jimi was an amazing man who apart from being a real success story for Leeds was also remarkably selfless and generous giving millions to local charities."

Mr Heselden was chairman of HESCO Bastion, a company based in East Leeds.

He grew up in Halton Moor, leaving school at 15 and working as a miner until losing his job in a wave of redundancies in the 1980s.

Richest people

His engineering business, producing military and flood protection equipment, prospered. He had a fortune reported to be over £160m, making him one of the top 400 richest people in the UK.

Mr Heseldine was renowned for his remarkable generosity and will have his name placed alongside previous recipients of freedom of the city at the Civic Hall.

A special council meeting will be held on Wednesday 26 January 2011 to pay tribute.

At the meeting a scroll will be presented to his family to show the city's appreciation of Mr Heselden's contribution to Leeds.

Charities that received help included Help for Heroes, St Gemma's and Martin House Hospices and the Leeds Community Foundation, that received £23m alone, £10m of which was donated in 2010.

Gold medal

Mr Heselden also worked closely with the council on the past two RHS Chelsea Flower show gardens helping to win the city's first ever gold medal, in 2010.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of the council said:

"Jimi was an extraordinary person, an inspiration and a great role model, and a genuinely nice man, and we felt it only right to break with tradition to honour him in this way."

Civic Hall
Mr Heseldine's name will hang in the Civic Hall

Highest honour

Freedom of the city is the highest honour Leeds can present, and this is the first time a posthumous honour has been issued to anyone in the city.

Under council rules, individuals have to be alive to be given freedom of the city, but the council wanted to honour Mr Heselden in a similar style by listing him alongside other freeman of the city.

The last person to be given the freedom of the city was author and dramatist, Alan Bennett.

Mr Heselden's name will be inscribed alongside Alan Bennett's on the list of recipients in the banqueting suite in the Civic Hall.

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