Amy Williams, Britain’s Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games golden girl, becomes the first woman to be made an Honorary Freeman of the City of Bath at a ceremony at Bath Abbey on Saturday (5 June).
The University of Bath-based athlete struck gold in the skeleton at the Vancouver 2010 Games to become Britain’s first individual Olympic Winter Games gold medallist for 30 years.
On Saturday she will join a select list of dignitaries to have become Honorary Freemen of the City of Bath. They include former Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Lloyd George; Haile Selassie, the former Emperor of Ethiopia; Yehudi Menuhin, the famed violinist and conductor, and Bath-born athlete Jason Gardener, a member of the British gold medal winning 4×100m quartet at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
Amy said: “It’s a massive honour. There are some big names on the list, so it’s amazing to be asked to be a Freeman of the City of Bath.”
The ceremony, which is open to members of the public, takes place at the annual general meeting of The Charter Trustees of the City of Bath, at Bath Abbey at 11am on Saturday.
The event is Bath’s annual Mayor Making Ceremony and will see Councillor Shaun McGall become the 783rd Mayor of Bath.
It will be followed by a Civic Reception in Amy’s honour in the Banqueting Room at Bath Guildhall, which is for invited guests.
Amy Williams won the nation’s hearts when she struck gold at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games in February. The 27-year-old won the gold medal by 0.56 seconds on her Olympic debut to become Britain’s first Olympic skeleton gold medallist.
At the end of the Games she had the honour of carrying the Union Flag at the closing ceremony in Vancouver. Thousands of people lined the streets of Bath to welcome her home when she took part in an open top bus tour through the city on her return from the Games.
Amy was the third British skeleton athlete to win a medal at successive Olympic Winter Games following Alex Coomber’s bronze in 2002 and Shelley Rudman’s silver in 2006, confirming skeleton as one of Britain’s most successful Olympic Winter Games sports.
Amy trained for her Vancouver challenge at the University of Bath where the British Skeleton programme is based. A University of Bath graduate, last month she was presented with an Honorary Blue in recognition of her achievements.
The first person to be made an Honorary Freeman of the City of Bath was His Royal Highness George William Frederick Charles, Duke of Cambridge, who was grandson of King George III and former Commander in Chief of the British Army. He received the honour in 1897.