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Welsh Rugby legend Neil Jenkins and key workers awarded freedom of Rhondda Cynon Taf

A Welsh rugby legend and key workers have been awarded the freedom of Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Former Wales player Neil Jenkins and RCT’s key workers were awarded with the honour at a meeting of full council on Wednesday, November 24.

Neil Jenkins was nominated for his services to rugby and key workers for their selfless hard work and dedication that saved the lives of many through the Covid pandemic.

A report went before full council on Wednesday, November 24 putting forward the recommendations of the freedom of the borough working group to council.

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The freedom of the borough is the highest accolade that the county
borough can bestow and is usually granted for outstanding service to,
or achievement associated with Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The report said that it is generally considered that the number of people
receiving this status should be few in number to maintain the
importance of the accolade.

Previously the freedom of the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf had been awarded to the Royal Welsh Regiment, Stuart Burrows, the miners of South Wales, Elaine Morgan OBE, the Welsh Guards and Bernard Baldwin MBE, Matthew James, Dai Dower, The Cory Band and David Roberts CBE and RAF St Athan.

The working group also suggested that a standalone outdoor event is taken forward, as a ‘thank you’ for the work and dedication of key workers throughout the pandemic.

The event will take place in accordance with Welsh Government and the council’s own Covid safety standards and requirements.

The working group is made up of the mayor, the leaders of each political group and the cabinet member for council business and considered several nominations in May before putting forward the two nominees for council’s consideration.

The report said: “Rhondda Cynon Taf has a proud record of recognising and honouring those who have given extraordinary service to the county borough and has a well-established tradition of conferring the freedom of the
borough on worthy candidates.

“This accolade is highly prestigious and is intentionally relatively scarcely awarded to preserve its importance.

“Due to the current climate and social distancing restrictions greater
consideration will need to be taken forward in respect of how these
accolades are to be awarded.”

The mayor of Rhondda Cynon Taf Councillor Jill Bonetto said it was a “huge honour” to recommend them adding that both have made a huge impact within the county borough and the whole country.

Councillor Andrew Morgan said he hoped whatever administration was in place next year would hold the event for key workers.

Councillor Pauline Jarman said she hoped it would include the widest definition of key workers and Councillor Lewis Hooper asked what the definition would be.

Council officer Christian Hanagan confirmed it would be in its broadest possible sense.


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