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Freedom award for Sir Ian McKellen

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Sir Ian McKellen receives the Freedom of the City of London

Sir Ian McKellen receives the Freedom of the City of London

Sir Ian McKellen receives the Freedom of the City of London

Sir Ian McKellen has been given the freedom of the City of London in recognition of his work for gay rights.

The actor, whose film roles include playing Gandalf in the Lord O f The Rings fantasy trilogy and The Da Vinci Code, received the award at Guildhall in the capital.

Sir Ian is one of the founders of campaign group Stonewall UK and also supports Pride London and The Albert Kennedy Trust which helps homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youngsters.

Lord Mayor Fiona Woolf, who nominated the Burnley-born actor, said: "It was a privilege to meet Sir Ian at The Mansion House in June this year, when he was guest of honour at the Pride in London Gala Dinner and it was a particular pleasure to announce to the guests, many of whom admire his acting and campaigning work, that he would receive the Freedom of the City of London.

"Sir Ian is an exceptional actor of international acclaim, whose repertoire ranges from Shakespeare and Pinter to Hollywood blockbusters and situation comedy. He is also a tireless campaigner for equality, for which I have the greatest admiration, so it is entirely appropriate that we honour his achievements."

The tradition of the freedom of the city is believed to date back to 1237.