Peter Stanhope, 25th June 2002.
>Well, it's all over ! John Barry is now an Honorary Freeman of the City of York !
>We had a great lunchtime with John Barry, his family and the extended Prendergast clan when the City of York paid tribute to and honoured the man of music with the Freedom of his native City.
>John seemed very touched by the ceremony and the tributes which were paid to him by the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr. David Horton who had obviously done his research well ! In a detailed account he traced from John's roots in York through his long career and many awards to his present day position as one godfathers of the movie music industry.
>In his response John thanked the Lord Mayor and people of York for their support over the years and for the tributes now being paid him. He said that, amongst all of the accolades that he has received over the years of his work in the film industry, to receive the approval and honour of your own home City was extremely touching and held most dear.
>He received an illuminated scroll in a decorative casket to record his Honorary Freedom - one of extremely few which have been granted by the City of York since the very first one in 1723. The Honorary Freedom of the City is only granted to 'distinguished persons or loyal servants of the City'.
>Gathered together were the many members of the Prendergast family including his sister June Lloyd Jones, nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews, as well as Laurie, his wife, and Jonpatrick, his son. There were also many other people present who had connections with Johns life including his ex-army mates from his national service days in the Green Howards, friends from the old Rialto days, childhood friends from Fulford, York, his music tutor and mentor Dr. Francis Jackson, previously Master of the Music at York Minster. There were also many present from the City of York side including past Lord Mayors, Councillors.
>Altogether it was a magnificent occasion and one which I know John really did appreciate. I had the opportunity to have a few words with him and he thanked me for making it all possible - since I had made the initial nomination for this special honour.
>All I can say it that in making it all possible for John, I have realised a long held ambition that this man and his music would be celebrated and ackowledged by his own City of which I am very proud to be a Freeman by hereditary right.