WORLD-renowned artist Mackenzie Thorpe has been granted freedom of his hometown Middlesbrough.

The honour came in the same week that Mr Thorpe unveiled his latest and much anticipated sculpture, Waiting For Me Dad, in front of an assembled crowd at the foot of the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough on Tuesday.

Middlesbrough Mayor, Dave Budd, told Mr Thorpe “We are as proud of you, as you are of Middlesbrough” as he formally moved the resolution at the Council Chamber in Middlesbrough Town Hall.

“You bring people together, which is quite an art in itself,” he said.

“My wife reminded me this morning that the only piece of artwork that we’ve ever agreed on to put on our wall was one of yours.

“Your story and the way you explain it gives hope to many young people in our town and the ways in which you link the past, present and future tells our story so well.

“We are, as you know, a town and people that built the world and we are rapidly re-inventing ourselves with a growing confidence and ambition.

“So thank you very much for what you’ve done and what you will do as you go around the world telling your story and I’m delighted to move this resolution.”

The Northern Echo:

The unveiling of Waiting For Me Dad

Seconding the motion, Cllr Chris Hobson said bestowing freedom of the borough was the highest honour available to the council.

“Mackenzie, who exhibits his artwork all over the world is certainly a great advocate for Middlesbrough and deserves to be here today to receive the freedom of the borough,” she said.

Accepting the honour, Mr Thorpe said: “There are so many layers of gratitude that I have for you all.

“That you should pick me out of all the hundreds of people from Middlesbrough and give me this award is beyond me.

“I feel like I’m part of a family and the family is called Middlesbrough, England, the North-east and I’m really taking that with me – not to brag – but I’ll be standing on a stage next week in Japan and they’re giving me a professorship.

“And by God, they’re going to know I’m from Middlesbrough alright.”

Unveiling his latest work earlier this week, the artist said the sculpture has been created as part of his 30th year celebrations, inspired by the original painting of the same name.

The Northern Echo:

He also creates work inspired by the Tour de Yorkshire cycling race, pictured above.