November 04, 2010
Former supermarket boss Sir Ken Morrison received the district’s highest honour today when he was made a Freeman of the City.
A civic ceremony at Bradford City Hall saw Sir Ken, who was born in Lister Avenue, East Bowling, swear an oath and sign the Roll of Honorary Freeman of the City, joining the likes of author JB Priestley, former MP Barbara Castle, artist David Hockney and one-time Bradford Bulls coach Brian Noble.
After thanking his family, the 79-year-old, who retired from Morrisons in 2008, said: “My acknowledgements of support also go to an even wider group of people.
“By this I mean the hundreds of Bradford citizens who were my colleagues who gave me great support from my earliest days in the local market to my retirement at the head of a national company with 130,000 employees.”
After the ceremony he told the Telegraph & Argus: “It’s the highest accolade that the city is able to confer and as such I am extremely flattered and delighted.”
Sir Ken took over his parents’ grocery business in 1952 and opened the city’s first self-service store in James Street six years later.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Peter Hill, presented Sir Ken with a commemorative scroll and told him: “You recognised the changing face of retailing before most and from your first job built an empire that now stretches across the UK.
“Unlike many of your contemporaries you kept the roots of your business firmly in your home city and, as it stands, I would expect that Morrisons is probably the largest employer in the district of Bradford so your success has been shared to the benefit of the many local people who have helped to make Morrisons a household name.”
Bradford Council leader Councillor Ian Greenwood said: “The thing that characterises your approach to running Morrisons and your approach to life is plain- speaking, a value for money and being forthright.
“Those are the things that we as Bradfordians value.”
Source: Telgraph & Argus