The nation’s favourite TV pint puller - Coronation Street legend Julie Goodyear MBE - is to be given the freedom of the borough of her home town, Rochdale.
Miss Goodyear – who appeared in Britain’s most famous and best-loved soap for over 25 years – is a long-time resident of the borough and is being given the honour in recognition of her contribution to the arts and entertainment.
The actor, known to millions of fans as Bet Lynch/Gilroy and central to many of the soap’s best-known storylines, will be presented with the borough’s highest civic accolade at a special meeting later this year.
The Rovers Return landlady joins actor, singer and comedian Gracie Fields; former Heywood and Royton MP and cabinet minister Lord Joel Barnett; Rochdale AFC, and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers as recipients of the freedom of the borough of Rochdale.
Miss Goodyear MBE said: “I am honoured, delighted and thrilled to accept this award from Rochdale Borough Council.
''I was born in Heywood and lived here all my life and never wanted to leave and live anywhere else so this is a very special award from the council. Rochdale is one of the best-known towns in the country and some very famous people have come from here so it will be truly wonderful to be given this honour.”
Councillor Richard Farnell, the leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Coronation Street has always enjoyed a special place in the heart of the nation and many of us grew up watching Julie pulling pints behind the bar of the Rovers Return.
''She is the world’s most famous barmaid who eventually became the second and most iconic landlady of the Rovers - and one of the most famous faces of British television.
“As someone who has spent all of her life in Heywood she is a deserving recipient of the highest honour that this council can bestow. We’re looking forward to welcoming Julie to the town hall where she will be treated like the star that she is.”
Heywood councillor Peter Rush, who nominated Miss Goodyear, said: “I have known Julie for many years, including when she lived at the Bay Horse pub with her mother and father.
''She is a brilliant ambassador to Heywood, instantly recognisable with her long blonde hair and sports cars and always good to have around. The freedom of the borough is an honour that as a proud Heywoodian she well deserves and it was my pleasure to be one of the people that nominated her.”