The Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Christine Hardman has become the first Faith Leader to be granted Newcastle’s ‘Freedom of the City’.
Her nomination, put forward by Labour council leader Nick Forbes and seconded by Lib Dem opposition leader Nick Cott, recognised Bishop Christine’s “spiritual guidance and comfort” in what has been a very challenging time.
Councillor Forbes commented on Bishop Christine’s outstanding presence within a number of different Newcastle communities, speaking out on issues such as LGBTQ+ rights and poverty.
Councillor Cott similarly commended Bishop Christine’s advocation for social justice, and her efforts in aiding the less fortunate.
In response to her nomination, Bishop Christine said: “Our city has a proud history, and is a wonderfully vibrant and exciting place, to live, work, study and play. When I came here to be Bishop of Newcastle, the depth of welcome was extraordinary and the relationships I have formed have been inspirational and encouraging.
“Newcastle is a city I have been privileged to serve and call home for the last six years. During this time, I have worked alongside some incredible people dedicated to improving the lives of so many, particularly the most vulnerable in our society. We have worked hard to highlight issues such as poverty in our communities, particularly among our children and young people, and the need for the Government to be investing more in the North.
‘To be nominated for the Freedom of our city is a wonderful honour and I am touched by this at a level that is beyond words. I will be retiring from my role later this year, but I will always remember and hold the people of this region in my prayers and treasure the time I have spent here.”
Bishop Christine is due to retire later this year.