A petition to honour York’s NHS workers by offering them the Freedom of the City has been launched.
Former City of York Council leader and Lord Mayor Steve Galloway started the petition.
He says offering the honour to the city’s NHS staff is one way the council can say thank you to key workers and volunteers for their work during the pandemic.
Mr Galloway said: “What better way to recognise local NHS workers – on behalf of all who went the extra mile during the past 18 months – for efforts which have saved many lives, and which also offered hope to those who had to face what was an unprecedented threat to their health and wellbeing.
“We are fortunate in having a traditional honour available to us if we wish to recognise the contribution made by our key workers.
“The Freedom of the City is an honour which has been bestowed on only the most deserving over the centuries.”
Presented by the Lord Mayor
The honour is usually granted to military organisations.
In 2015 the Freedom of the City was granted to members of the Queen’s Gurkha Signals based at Imphal Barracks.
In 2011 it was conferred upon the York Normandy Veterans and in 2012 it was granted to army medics at 34 Field Hospital.
Local authorities may propose the honourary title be given to a group that has “rendered eminent services to the council” – but the plans need to be put to councillors at a full council meeting, who then vote on whether the honour is given.
If a proposal to award the Freedom of the City is approved, a civic ceremony can be held to present the honour, organised on behalf of the Lord Mayor.
The petition to offer the Freedom of the City to NHS workers says: “In recognition of the work undertaken by professionals, key workers, and volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic in York, the City Council is asked to offer the Freedom of the City to NHS York.
“This is a simple way for the City of York to say thank you to the many people who have gone the extra mile during the very challenging circumstances of the last year. It is suggested that recognition of key NHS staff is one way of highlighting the work of all key sector workers in the city.”