Worcester Warriors chairman Cecil Duckworth has spoken of his ‘sense of pride’ after receiving the city’s top honour.
Mr Duckworth was granted honourary Freeman of the City of Worcester status by the city council on Tuesday night, in recognition of his charity work, sporting investment and business success.
The Warriors chairman will be formally presented with an illuminated scroll at a Guildhall ceremony and his name recorded on a plaque in the historic building.
Mr Duckworth first came to Worcester in the 1950s and has been a driving force in raising the city’s profile with huge business success through his company Worcester Group, valued at £72m when it was taken over by Bosch. The company was in great shape when he retired in December 1996 but has since gone from strength to strength. They are now market leaders in the UK and have over 2,000 employees.
He retired early in 1997 when he switched his attention to his new passion – Worcester Warriors. Mr Duckworth’s drive and ambition has seen the club establish itself as one of the leading sides in European rugby.
Mr Duckworth also set up the charitable Duckworth Worcestershire Trust in 1998 and was honoured with an OBE from the Queen in 2004.
“I am delighted and very proud to be granted Freeman of the City of Worcester,” said Mr Duckworth.
“Worcester is where I built my business with the help of its people. I have been involved in bringing Acorns Children’s Hospice here, setting up the Duckworth Worcestershire Trust and helping grow a leading sporting club that we can all be proud of in Worcester Warriors. Most importantly, it is Worcester where I met my wife, where my children were born and where I have lots of good friends.
“Worcester is a truly great city and so I’m naturally delighted to recognised by the city and join the relative short list of people who have been granted this honour.
“To appear on the same list as Sir Winston Churchill, Lord Nelson and Lord Walker, who has been a great friend and inspiration to me, gives me a true sense of pride and I look forward to continuing to help play my part in making Worcester a wonderful place to enjoy life.”