Freedom of Brighton and Hove awarded to Aung San Suu Kyi

Posted On 13 May 2011 at 5:09 pm

The Freedom of Brighton and Hove is being awarded to Burmese pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi and heroic pilot Marc Heal.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Mrs Suu Kyi, guest director of the Brighton Festival this year, is unable to attend a ceremony in her honour next Thursday (19 May).

She is unable to leave Burma but Brighton and Hove City Council hopes that a representative may attend on her behalf.

Flight Lieutenant Marc Heal, from Brighton, is expected to attend the ceremony when he becomes an honorary freeman of the city at the ceremony at Hove Town Hall on Thursday.

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) last year after rescuing 29 injured troops during missions in Afghanistan.

Flight Lieutenant Heal will receive the honour “in recognition of his outstanding gallantry as the Captain of the Chinook helicopter Immediate Response Team in Afghanistan for which the Queen awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The inspirational command of his crew and superior flying skills led to the successful extraction of 29 casualties and the saving of lives”.

Mrs Suu Kyi has struggled as a human rights advocate to advance the cause of democracy in Burma.

The Brighton Festival programme this year aims to celebrate her life and reflect her tastes and passions.

Her status as a freewoman of the city recognises her “continued efforts to support the people of Burma and the many people throughout the world striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means”.

The council said that the honouring of both Flight Lieutenant Heal and Mrs Suu Kyi celebrated the importance of human rights and equalities.

The decision to award the honours was made by council chief executive John Barradell and lead councillors from each political party.

A report about the honours will be presented to the special council meeting which will make the award on Thursday. It can be read here.

Only two others have received the accolade since Brighton and Hove City Council was created – the widely respected former Argus journalist Adam Trimingham and the World War One veteran Henry Allingham.

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