A Camelon man has come a long way from the playground of Carmuirs Primary School to gain the freedom of the City of London.
Graham Bell (44) received the honour for his valuable contribution to the City Corporation over the last two years. Working as chief information officer in charge of IT, he’s been looking after the residents, workers and visitors to the Square Mile.
Wife Pauline and parents Robert and Mary were able to share Graham’s special day and see him receive the honour from the Chamberlain’s Court recently. Famous recipients include Carry On and Eastenders star Barbara Windsor and actor Stephen Fry.
Graham said: “It was a really nice day. My parents came down and we enjoyed a tour of the Guild Hall. I never thought I would get an honour like this and I never set out with a goal like this in mind.”
Starting his career as a civil engineer, the former Camelon High School pupil worked all over the world before returning to the UK in 1999.
“I’ve been working in various roles in London for the last 15 years and now work in IT for the City Corporation. I try to get back up to Camelon as often as I can.”
Graham admitted the people who gave him the honour probably would not know where Camelon was, but he is certainly not the first person born in another country to have received the honour - Archbishop Desmond Tutu was given the Freedom of the City last November.
Since the Freedom of the City of London was first presented in 1237 most of the title’s practical benefits have long since disappeared.
However, some are still available for use.
“It gives me the right to drive a herd of the sheep through the streets,” laughed Graham.