Olympic diver and Southwark resident Tom Daley gets the Freedom of Southwark

Herbie Russell (24 May, 2022)

Cllr Victor Chamberlain said: “Tom is an inspiration to us here. It’s a way of saying we really value his contribution to the borough, to sport and to LGBTQ rights.”

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Olympic diver Tom Daley has been granted the Freedom of Southwark, a ceremonial award that recognises his contribution to the borough.

The 28-year-old gold medal winner, who lives in Borough and Bankside, received the honour at the Southwark Civic Awards, hosted at Southwark Cathedral, Saturday May 21.

Originally from Plymouth, Tom moved to Southwark in 2014. In 2018, he opened the Marlborough Sports Garden on Union Street and has been a supporter of environmental charity Bankside Open Spaces Trust, Red Cross Garden (BOST).

Cllr Victor Chamberlain, the recently elected leader of the Southwark Liberal Democrats, who nominated Daley for the award, said: “Tom is an inspiration to us here. It’s a way of saying we really value his contribution to the borough, to sport and to LGBTQ rights.”

“We hope to get him even more involved in the area. This borough has some of the worst child obesity in the country and he’s a big ambassador, encouraging people to be healthy.” 

2022 Southwark Local Elections: The results in full

Daley, an ardent LGBTQ activist, was made awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in the 2022 new year and vowed to use it to support LGBTQ rights. 

Cllr Chamberlain said: “Hate crime is increasingly on the rise and tackling that is really important. It’s important we teach LGBTQ equality at every level.”

Cllr Chamberlain hopes to establish a permanent space for the LGBTQ community on the site of the now-closed gay nightclub XXL. 

Plans for the new gay-friendly space have been planned for at least two years, but were delayed during Covid.

The Southwark Civic Awards also saw former Dulwich Society members, Ian McInnes, the old chair, and journal editor, Brian Green, receive the Liberty of the Old Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell. 

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