March 25, 2022 5.00 pm

Lord Cormack: Freedom of Lincoln is “most special” day of public life

“We are guardians of the history of one of the great cities in England”

Lord Patrick Thomas Cormack, chairman of the Historic Lincoln Trust among a host of other roles, has been granted Freedom of the City.

Lord Cormack was awarded Freedom of the City during an extraordinary City of Lincoln Council meeting on Friday, March 25, held at The Guildhall for the first time in two years – as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was nominated by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire Toby Dennis, supported by Mary Stuart CBE, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln, and presented with the honour by City of Lincoln Mayor Jackie Kirk.

City of Lincoln Mayor Jackie Kirk was on hand to present the honour. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The nomination was received due to Lord Cormack’s roles and responsibilities across a number of sectors in the city of Lincoln throughout his life, including a substantial donation for the creation of the Magna Carta Vault, and securing funding for the ongoing Lincoln Cathedral project.

He is not only the chairman of the Historic Lincoln Trust, he is also patron of the International Bomber Command Centre, Deputy High Steward of the Cathedral, a member of the University of Lincoln Court and Vice President of the Tennyson Society.

The meeting was held at the Guildhall with a full room present for the first time in two years. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

A room of people that included city councillors, Lincoln MP Karl McCartney and University of Lincoln Vice Chancellor Neal Juster, were in attendance to witness Lord Cormack receive the honour.

Introducing Lord Cormack was Leader of City of Lincoln Council Ric Metcalfe, who described the Freedom of the City recipient as “a real force for good” ever since his arrival in the city following his retirement in 2010.

Leader of City of Lincoln Council Ric Metcalfe addressing the Guildhall at the presentation meeting. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Addressing the arts and heritage champion, Councillor Metcalfe said: “With your distinguished political career and no end of good causes, you have packed things in your life that most would need several lifetimes for.

“This award is rarely and preciously granted, it is only appropriate for someone who has provided exceptional support, and Lord Cormack’s contribution has been exceptional.

“You have been of great value and have brought nothing but good, and we thank you for that.”

Lord Cormack said he was honoured to be recognised for his efforts of representing Lincoln and Lincolnshire on the national stage. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Lord Cormack has been involved with government since 1970, when he was originally elected to the Cannock seat as a Conservative candidate before taking on both South and South West Staffordshire.

He sat in the House of Commons until 2010 before becoming a member of the House of Lords, where he has sat in on the EU Environment sub-committee, the Lord Speaker’s Advisory Panel on Works of Art and the Ecclesiastical Committee.

The document was signed and made official. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Accepting the honour, Lord Cormack addressed the Guildhall audience and said: “I have had four red letter days in my public life; first when I was elected as an MP, secondly when I was given a knighthood, then when I accepted my seat in the House of Lords, and lastly today.

“Of those four days, this is the most intimate, moving and special. I am indeed a Lincolnshire yellowbelly who is proud of our county. Every day I look at that glorious cathedral, which I first saw in 1946 when my parents brought me from Grimsby to see it.

“We are guardians of the history of one of the great cities in England. The history of the country and the city of Lincoln are intertwined, and Lincoln has played a seminal role in the country’s history.”

Lord Cormack during his acceptance speech. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Lord Cormack ended his speech by talking about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, calling for unity at such a difficult time for our planet.

He continued: “I am dressed in Ukraine colours today, as this is the most grave time in Europe since the Second World War. We all have to pray for people, and ensure that evil will not conquer.

“The things of eternal true worth are the things that unite us,” Lord Cormack concluded, to which he received a rousing ovation from all in attendance.

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite