Dudley honours Lenny Henry

But Tories didn't want to give a black man his freedom

Lenny Henry is to be given the freedom of his home town of Dudley.

Labour councillors agreed the honour last night – although the Tory opposition tried to block it.

Opposition leader Patrick Harley wanted to change the criteria so only people who made a specific contribution to Dudley and its residents could be awarded the freedom of the borough... a move that was defeated after council leader David Sparks branded it ‘ridiculous’.

He paid tribute to the comedian’s work with Comic Relief and added: ‘Lenny Henry will go down in history. He is one of the comedians who has dealt with racism, having been at the hard end of the worst time of that period.’

A date will now be set to formally award Henry the status.

Henry - who was born in Dudley and attended school in the Black Country town – used a little local slang to describe the news as ‘bostin’, adding that: ‘Dudley is a touchstone to me and I hope that comes across in my work.’

Henry is currently touring the UK in the play Fences, by American playwright August Wilson

Published: 26 Feb 2013

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