04 March 2009>
Welsh boxing hero Joe Calzaghe is in line to become the first person to receive the Freedom of the Caerphilly county borough.
Councillors discussed the matter at a cabinet meeting this week (Tuesday 3rd March) and the issue will now be considered for final approval at a meeting of full council next Tuesday (10th March).
The award for Freedom of the Caerphilly county borough is a new honour created to acknowledge people of distinction who have, in the opinion of the council, rendered eminent services to the Caerphilly county borough.
At the meeting it was also proposed that the Royal Welsh Regiment should be the next recipient of the prestigious award in 2010.
Leader of council, Cllr Lindsay Whittle, said: "No one deserves to be honoured more than Joe Calzaghe. He is unquestionably Wales' and the UK's greatest boxer and thoroughly deserves to be honoured by the county borough where he lives.
"Admittedly I questioned the reason for considering the Royal Welsh Regiment as I had viewed the 'Freedom' honour as something for individuals. I then held a meeting with their representatives and I was impressed with the local credentials presented and the clear Welsh links.
"It became my honour to nominate them, their close connections with this area and the historical links to the former Monmouthshire Regiment are part of the reasoning. I am also aware there are many young men and women serving in many other regiments who are no less deserving but this nomination represents the honour we wish to bestow on all who serve in the armed forces from the county borough."
It is likely that, subject to council approval, Joe will receive the honour this year and the Royal Welsh Regiment in 2010.
Cllr Whittle said that he has been overwhelmed by the strength of public support to offer Joe Calzaghe and the Royal Welsh Regiment the new honour.
Cllr Allan Pritchard, Deputy Leader of the council, originally nominated Joe for the award in January 2008 and the proposal has gained momentum following Joe Calzaghe's recent decision to announce his retirement.
Mr Pritchard was a member of Newbridge Boxing Club when he was younger. "Joe's achievements during his professional boxing career have been outstanding and he has been an inspiration to people of all ages," he said.
Joe Calzaghe, aged 36, retires as the undefeated world super middleweight champion after winning all 46 of his professional fights. His career spanned almost 20 years, which saw him unbeaten as a professional boxer and a triple ABA champion as an amateur.
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