Robbie granted the Freedom of Stoke-on-Trent
Adding to the numerous music awards won throughout his career, Robbie yesterday received the Freedom of the City of his home town, Stoke-on-Trent.
Appearing at a secret ceremony on Tuesday, 1st July 2014, Robbie was joined by his mum and dad, Ayda and Teddy to receive the honour from Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Majid Khan before tucking in to specially-requested bacon and cheese Staffordshire oatcakes.
The newly-appointed freeman had plenty to say in recognition of the award...
I can see how much this means to everyone in the room. I can see how proud they are of me and I am incredibly proud to be from Stoke on Trent - no matter how far away I am or how long I am away I am a Stokie.
I am a little boy from the fields. It was there I learnt how to show off and I went and showed off to the world and people liked it. I have been lucky enough for them to keep liking me showing off. I'm incredibly lucky to be here with my wife, my little Teddy, my unborn child and my mum and dad. Every day I feel like a free man of my own home and now I'm a freeman of the place where I was born. There are no words to describe how I feel.
There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. This particular village moulded me into the man I am today. I wear where I am from as a badge of honour. So to have that honour returned to me is very special. I'm proud of our six towns. I'm proud to come from Stoke-on-Trent. I'm extremely honoured and grateful that you think it's fitting to give me this recognition. God bless you all.
Speaking after the ceremony, he added:
"I didn't actually know what to expect. I actually get very anxious about public ceremonies but the room was filled with such warmth and pride, it was very un-showbizzy and I felt incredibly relaxed.
"It's so surreal to feel I've got this huge honour and I haven't totally taken it in. But it's so poignant for me to have my little girl with me and my wife and my unborn baby. This is Teddy's first visit to Stoke on Trent. I grew up here, her life is so different to mine. At her age Stoke on Trent was my whole world and I dreamed of getting into another world. All my dreams came true but as they come true you realise how much you miss the freedom you had as a kid and the safety and security you feel in your own little world. Stoke on Trent made me. My humour, my cheeky chappie bit, that's all from here. Cut me and it's through me like a stick of rock."
Robbie's Dad, Pete, who has sung with Robbie on his Swings Both Ways tour this summer, delivered some equally heartfelt words: 'This is an incredible moment. Rob has won so many awards but there's been nothing like this. He's from a family born and bred in Stoke on Trent and this is a huge day for us. It's very poignant, very moving.'
His Mum, Jan, who, along with Pete, received a miniature scroll at the event, added: 'I'm so proud of my son. I always knew he was very special. It sounds strange to be saying this but I always felt he was going to make something of himself and he really has. He's a wonderful man and this is a very special day for him.'
Speaking of the local delicacies served at the ceremony, Robbie said: 'Ayda loves oatcakes. My mum brings them over to LA every times she comes so we usually have a stock in the freezer. You can't beat them. Teddy loves them too. Her second word was 'duck' which makes her a true Stokie."