England's Beth Mead handed Freedom of Scarborough

England's Beth Mead celebrates the winning goal against Austria.
Beth Mead helped England to Euros glory in 2022. Credit: PA

Footballer Beth Mead has capped a momentous year by being given the freedom of her home town.

England's number seven shone in last summer's European Championships, claiming both the golden boot and player of the tournament accolades as her team took the title.

On form for both country and her club Arsenal, Mead finished 2022 by winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year – the first female footballer to do so.

Beth Mead said she had thought "long and hard about what to write" following the death of her mum. Credit: Twitter: @bmeado9

Now in the middle of recovery from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, Mead was back in her home county of Yorkshire to collect the Freedom of the Borough from the region's mayor in Scarborough.

She said: "Considering I've won a few honours this year, this one's very different."

Those handed the freedom of boroughs in the UK used to be granted special powers including control of trade, but today's privileges are more ceremonial.

Mead said: "I got told I was allowed to ride in the car with the Mayor. I don't know if that will ever happen but we'll see.

"I'm always proud of my roots and where I started out so to be recognised in my area for something as big and prestigious as this is a proud and honourable moment."

Growing up in Hinderwell near Whitby and passionate about football as a youngster, Mead used to pull pints in her local pub to pay for her boots.

Beth Mead warming up prior to kick-off for England with '#LetGirlsPlay' emblazoned on her t-shirt Credit: PA

She said: "At the time there wasn't a lot of opportiunites this way for me. Seeing now the opportiunites that young girls have makes me smile."

Mead's fellow seaside sports star Zoe Aldcroft was also given the Freedom of the Borough. The 26-year-old was named World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year in 2021.

Scarborough's Zoe Aldcroft playing for England against Fiji at the Women's Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand Credit: PA

Beth Mead will collect her MBE later this year for services to football after she was named on the New Year Honours list.

Before today's ceremony, she said: "I've not been to Scarborough in a while. I do like coming home, I often don't get a chance to so when I come home it's extra special. It's nice to have a bit of northern air."

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