An overwhelmed Pete Winkelman has been honoured with the Freedom of the Borough by Milton Keynes Council.
Mr Winkelman becomes the fourth individual to pick up the award, after Dame Cleo Lane, Dr Jim Marshall and The Right Honourable The Lord Campbell of Eskan, the former Chairman of Milton Keynes Development Corporation. Red Bull Racing have also been awarded the honour.
Mr Winkelman’s music producing career brought him to Milton Keynes, but he will be known to most as the chairman of MK Dons, building stadium:mk and spearheading the campaign to bring the Rugby World Cup 2015 to town later this year.
“I am totally overwhelmed to be conferred with this honour,” said Mr Winkelman. “There is something very special in being recognised by your local community and I will be forever grateful that the Council has bestowed on me the Freedom of the Borough.
“It is particularly special considering who the other recipients have been and, in particular, Jim Marshall who did so much to support me - particularly in the early days of our adventure.
“Bringing football to Milton Keynes was about bringing opportunities for the whole community and I could only have done that in partnership with the many agencies, organisations and individuals who have supported this journey.
“The Council has been outstanding in this respect and I would like to thank them for their support that has been vital in helping us deliver the first ten years of the club and I know that we can count on them as we move forward to, hopefully, greater things in the future.
“However, none of this can be possible without the support of our fans and the people of Milton Keynes that contribute so much to making our city something that we can all be proud about.”
Milton Keynes Mayor, Councillor Keith McLean, said: “When I first met Pete I thought he was like a bottle of fizzy pop – brimming with ideas and enthusiasm.
“Four years later that first impression has proved absolutely right and he still uses that tireless energy to bring so many positive things to Milton Keynes.”
Council Leader Pete Marland said: “It’s difficult to quantify just how much Pete Winkelman has done to put Milton Keynes on the map.
“Describing him as a local legend seems like a massive understatement – he really is up there with the likes of the late Jim Marshall and Dame Cleo Laine, both of whom were also awarded the Freedom of the Borough.
“It goes beyond simply the work he has done with the MK Dons - he embodies the spirit of Milton Keynes like few others and cares deeply about our City.”