Chairman Pete Winkelman has received the highest ceremonial honour from Milton Keynes Council – the Freedom of the Borough.
Only the fourth individual in the history of Milton Keynes to receive the Freedom of the Borough, Pete was surrounded by his family, friends and colleagues at a special meeting on Thursday evening in a packed council chamber.
On receiving the Freedom of the Borough, Pete said: “Thank you for this unbelievable honour - I am humbled by it.
“Milton Keynes was a city born out of imagination and if we can dream it, we can do.
“I am really thankful to have been surrounded by so many amazing people. Through all of it the council has been an amazing partner.
“It is councillors of both the past and present who gave their unswerving support - and made the impossible happen. I am hugely proud.”
Warm tributes were made by the Mayor of Milton Keynes Cllr Keith McLean, as well as the three group leaders - Cllrs Pete Marland, Edith Bald and Douglas McCall - among many others.
Cllr Keith McLean said: “I had planned a 20-minute speech, but then I realised Pete would not be able to sit still or keep quiet for that long.
“What you see is what you get - he is a man who delivers.”
Lib Dem leader Councillor Douglas McCall said: “Pete Winkelman is Milton Keynes in a person.
“He is so full of energy and passion. He has got drive - and his drive helps us. His aims are always to the advantage of Milton Keynes.
“Pete has made MK Dons a real part of the MK community, which is really important.”
Council leader Pete Marland said: “This is a fantastic honour to bestow upon you - not just for your work at the football club, but because of your individual work.
“You have made Milton Keynes a world-known name and there are not many people in this chamber or beyond who will be able to say that.”
Previously the Council has honoured...
• The Right Honourable The Lord Campbell of Eskan, the former Chairman of Milton Keynes Development Corporation, on 18 March, 1982;
• Dr James Charles Marshall OBE, on 19 March, 2009;
• Dame Cleo Laine, on 31 March, 2011; and
• Infiniti Red Bull Racing Team on 20 March, 2014.
The Council also conferred, on November 25, 1998, the honour of Freedom of Entry into the Borough on The Royal Green Jackets (then known as The Rifles Regiment), and more recently -on 17 June 2015 – this honour was transferred to The 678 (Rifles) Squadron of the 6th Regiment of the Army Air Corps – the Rifle’s Regiment successors.