Civic receptions and awards

We recognise the achievements of people and groups and their contribution to Barnsley through civic receptions and awards.

The most celebrated award is the 'Freedom of the Borough'. This honours people born in, living in, or having strong links with Barnsley. It can also be awarded to people who've made a major contribution to local, national, or international life.

Freedom of the Borough is the highest award that we can offer on the town's behalf. Those who receive it become 'Freemen' of Barnsley. In the past, the title of 'Freeman' came with ancient rights and privileges, but it’s now mostly honorary.

Famous Freemen include:

  • Actress, Katherine Kelly
  • Cricket Umpire, Harold Dickie Bird
  • Egyptologist, Professor Joann Fletcher
  • Founder and Artistic Director of Barnsley Youth Choir, Mat Wright MBE
  • International Artist and Sculptor, Graham Ibbeson
  • Local Fashion Guru, Rita Britton
  • Past Lord-Lieutenant, David Moody CVO
  • Poet, Journalist and Broadcaster, Ian McMillan
  • Right Honourable Lord Mason of Barnsley
  • Singer and Songwriter, Kate Rusby
  • The Intensive Care Unit Barnsley Foundation Trust
  • Worldwide Cricketer, Katherine Brunt

The borough's two home army regiments - The Light Dragoons and the Royal Yorkshire Regiment - also have the Freedom of the Borough. This means they can parade through the town centre with bayonets fixed and flags flying.

You can nominate someone for the Freedom of the Borough at any time. Please be aware that it's only granted in very special cases.