Thursday, 27 January 2011
Caption: (From left) Lady Mayoress Councillor Andrea McKenna, Julie Heselden, Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna and Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council.
Last night (Wednesday 26 January) Leeds City Council paid tribute to entrepreneur and philanthropist Mr Jimi Heselden by awarding him a unique honour.
The council presented Mr Heselden’s wife, Julie, with a scroll detailing the honour of Freedom of the City, as an acknowledgment of Jimi Heselden’s contribution to the city.
Freedom of the City is the highest honour a city can present, but this is the first time a posthumous honour has been issued to anyone in Leeds, and it was only right that the council awarded Mr Heselden, chairman of HESCO Bastion, this honour for his remarkable selflessness and generosity and his contribution to the city.
Mr Heselden died late last year in a tragic accident near his home at Wetherby, Leeds.
The Lord Mayor, the leader of council and representatives from the council’s four other political groups paid tribute to Mr Heselden at the meeting before a scroll was presented to his family as acknowledgement of his inclusion among the Freeman of the City recipients.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna said:
“I was delighted and honoured to present Jimi's family with the scroll and show them the panel in the Banquet Hall with Jimi's name next to other Honorary Freeman of the City.
“Jimi was very much involved in Leeds life, and gave his time and money to both local Leeds charities and other good causes, and this selflessness will not be forgotten.”
Leader of council, Councillor Keith Wakefield, said:
“Jimi was very much loved across the city, and his generosity will never be forgotten. This honour is the least we could do for a man who was such an ambassador for Leeds.
“We had great success with Jimi at the RHS Chelsea flower show, with the momentous occasion of winning Gold for the first time ever will always been remembered.”
Deputy leader of the Conservative group at Leeds City Council, Councillor John Procter said:
"I worked closely with Jimi over a number of years on the Chelsea Garden project, and got to know him well. Both genuine and honest in equal measure, his passion for the city was infectious. This honour is a fitting way for us to pay tribute to a man who did so much for Leeds.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Leeds City Council, Councillor Stewart Golton said:
"Last night provided us with the opportunity to pay tribute to someone who was a fantastic role model for the City. Jimi Heselden rose from humble beginnings to become one of the City's biggest benefactors supporting all kinds of organisations large and small."
Leader of the Green group at Leeds City Council, Councillor Ann Blackburn said:
"Mr Heselden was a true philanthropist who didn't forget his roots."
Councillor Terry Grayshon of the Morley independent group in Leeds said:
“Jimi Hesleden was a remarkable individual, the like of which is rarely seen. His generosity to the City of Leeds and further a field is astonishing. He was a caring and giving man who wanted to give something back to the community and help those who needed a helping hand”
Mr Heselden worked closely with the council on the past two RHS Chelsea Flower show gardens. This year, history was made when the HESCO Garden 2010 won the ever first gold medal for Leeds City Council, and also became the first gold medal-winner by a local authority in the elite outdoor show garden category in the entire 148-year history of the event – a fantastic achievement.
Under council rules, individuals have to be alive to be given Freedom of the City, but the council wanted to honour Mr Heselden in a similar style by including his name on this list alongside other Freemen of the City.
For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Posted by Leeds City Council press office at 14:17