WORLD Superbike racing champion Dr Jonathan Rea MBE has been conferred with the Freedom of the Borough at a special ceremony held by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
A short reception took place in the Mayor’s Parlour in Larne Town Hall on Thursday (April 29) with a limited number of individuals attending, in keeping with the current Covid-19 guidelines that are in place.
The decision to confer the prestigious title to Dr Jonathan Rea MBE was one proposed by Cllr Gregg McKeen and seconded by Alderman Paul Reid.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Peter Johnston said: “The Freedom of the Borough is the highest accolade that Council can award and I am delighted to have presented it to World Superbike Champion Dr Jonathan Rea MBE.
“Jonathan’s career to date has been nothing short of incredible. He is one of the greatest sports people our country has ever produced.
“A past pupil of Larne Grammar School, Dr Rea has won the Superbike World Championship a record six times. He is the first rider in the history of the Championship to achieve six world titles consecutively from 2015 until 2020.
“The word legend is often over-used, but in Jonathan, we in Mid and East Antrim, have someone who is truly fitting of that description.
“He is a wonderful ambassador for our area and an inspiration to so many throughout Northern Ireland, and around the world.”
To mark this special occasion a ‘perpetual’ bursary has been launched by Council in Dr Jonathan Rea’s name.
The purpose of this is to provide additional support to sporting individuals within the Borough who will act as effective ambassadors for Mid and East Antrim in their chosen sporting activity, with funding up to £2,000 per individual.
Cllr Johnston added: “While it is customary to have an exchange of gifts at Freedom events, Jonathan asked that rather than presenting him with a gift, to explore options which would assist individuals within our Borough who excel in individual sports so that they can enhance their sporting development.
“This bursary is a fitting tribute to Dr Jonathan Rea and we thank him for this lasting legacy which will benefit many recipients from our Borough.”
To find out more about the Dr Jonathan Rea bursary and to apply visit: www.midandeastantrim.