Firefighter who became Paralympian after breaking his neck made Freeman of Rotherham

Paralympian Gavin Walker
Gavin Walker co-captained the Team GB wheelchair rugby team to Paralympic glory in Tokyo Credit: Team GB

Paralympic gold medallist Gavin Walker will be made an Honorary Freeman of Rotherham in recognition of his services to sport.

Walker – co-captain of Team GB's wheelchair rugby team – helped to lead the side to victory at last year's Tokyo Paralympics, when they beat Team USA in the gold medal match.

Honorary Freeman is the highest civic honour that the council can award. Walker will be honoured at the next annual council meeting.

What is an Honorary Freeman?

Before 1835, a Freeman was a citizen who was entitled to claim exemption from tolls and a share of the profits of his city or borough.

Now the title is simply a mark of distinction upon the person the council wishes to honour. 

The honour itself carries no privilege, and merely reflects the status of the person in recognition of their services. 

A former firefighter, Walker became a paralympian after breaking his neck when he slipped on some wet decking in 2010.

He was selected for the national squad in 2013 and made his Paralympic debut at the 2016 Games in Rio.

His honour comes after he was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list.