Former England Lioness Jill Scott to be given Freedom of the City of Sunderland

Jill Scott MBE is set to be awarded Sunderland's highest honour. Credit: PA images

Former England Lioness Jill Scott MBE is set to be given Sunderland's highest honour when she is awarded the Freedom of the City.

Councillors voted unanimously in support of the move to mark her work in women's football, her work as an ambassador for Sunderland and for being a role model to young people in the city.

Scott, who is currently in the jungle as part of the current series of ITV's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, was part of the England women's team that brought football home in the Euro 2022 final at Wembley in the summer.

She will be honoured alongside her longtime fellow Lioness and former teammate at Manchester City Steph Houghton MBE, who is also being recognised for her contributions to sport.

They will receive the award along with Sunderland men's legend Gary Bennett MBE, who is being given the award for his work in combatting racism through initiatives including Show Racism The Red Card.

Julia Potts, Councillor for Millfield ward, put forward the suggested nominations in early September.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted that councillors from all parties and all parts of the city have backed calls for Jill Scott to be awarded Freedom of the City of Sunderland – together with fellow Lioness Steph Houghton and SAFC legend Gary Bennett.

“As well as doing our region proud in the jungle at the moment, Jill Scott has represented our city and country impeccably – as has Steph Houghton. It is only right that following on from honouring the 1973 FA Cup Final squad last year the Council now honours our local Lionesses too.

“Black Cats legend Gary Bennett is not only one of the people who have made the most appearances for our club, he continues to do sterling work in Wearside communities as well as with ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ and is also massively deserving of the honour.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...