Today, Friday May 17, 2019, Dame Shirley Bassey DBE accepted the honour of the Freedom of the City and County of Cardiff. 

Nominated for her eminent service to Cardiff, Wales and her patronage of the Noah's Ark Charity and of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, the honorary freeman award is the highest distinction that the Council of the Capital City of Wales can bestow.


Dame Shirley attended a special ceremony at Cardiff's City Hall, attended by The Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas and The RT. Hon Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Cllr Dianne Rees.

The Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: "With a remarkable career spanning over seven decades, Dame Shirley is undoubtedly one of Wales' greatest exports.Presenting her with the honour of Freedom of the City, not only recognises her contribution to music but also acknowledges her continued support for the Welsh arts and her committed patronage to local charity, Noah's Ark.

"Recognised as an international superstar, Dame Shirley has remained proud of her Cardiff roots and Welsh heritage. To name her as an honorary Freewoman of the City, celebrates her links to the city whilst expressing Cardiff's pride for all that she has achieved."

The Rt Hon Lord Mayor of Cardiff Cllr Dianne Rees said: "I have taken great joy, in helping to welcome Dame Shirley back to Cardiff today, to accept the ceremonial honour of Freedom of the City, an occasion that is so important to Cardiff's civic pride.

"This special event recognises the contribution that Dame Shirley has made to Cardiff and its communities as well as celebrating a wonderful lifetime of achievements. We also acknowledge her continual support for the Noah's Ark Charity, a cause that I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting myself over the last year, which helps so many children and young people access the care needed for the best start in life."

Dame Shirley said: 'I am absolutely honoured to be in Cardiff to receive Freedom to the City. 
"Growing up in Tiger Bay, I have fond memories of the docks, the people, my family. It's thrilling to see how my hometown has grown with such vibrancy! 

"Throughout my career, whenever I return to Wales, I am met with such kindness and generosity. You welcome me with open arms, and with that, I champion the community as best I can by supporting charities, including the RWCMD and Noahs Ark. We must continue to support the next generations and nurture their talent, and together, Cardiff will continue to thrive and be the wonderful city it is!

"Thank you again for bestowing me with this wonderful tradition."

On arrival Dame Shirley was greeted by 12 year oldMia Lloydfrom Ceredigion. Mia spent almost a year receiving treatment at the Noah's Ark Children's Hospital for Wales for a rare type of cancer and in November 2017, she underwent an operation to amputate part of her left leg. Mia is the first ever young ambassador for the Noah's Ark Charity and has raised thousands of pounds and represented the charity at various events. 

Music was provided by a choir fromCardiff County and Vale of Glamorgan Music Service and afanfare was provided by trumpeters from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Noah's Ark Charity director, Suzanne Mainwaring, said: "A legend in the world of show business, Dame Shirley has proved loyal to her roots and has championed Wales, Cardiff and her charities all over the world. We are deeply honoured to have her patronage and loyal support. She is a true member of our Noah's Ark Family and we are delighted that she has been awarded the Freedom of the City of Cardiff, the highest honour the city can bestow on any individual. We look forward to celebrating with Dame Shirley at the Noah's Ark Charity Spring Ball this evening (Friday May 17)"

Asked about her experience meeting Dame Shirley, Mia Lloyd said:  "I was excited to meet Dame Shirley, I congratulated her on her award and we talked about clothes, she said she liked my dress." 

City Hall will play host to the RT. Hon Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Cllr Dianne Rees'Spring Ball, on behalf of the Noah's Ark Charity later this evening (Friday 17, May).Dame Shirley BasseyDBE is invited as a special guest at the event which will behosted by Gethin Jones and feature entertainment from some of Wales' finest performers, including Only Men Aloud, Catrin Finch and Suzanne Packer.

ThisSpring Ballcelebrates the 18th birthday year of the Noah's Ark Charity and marks the end of the successful year-long partnership with The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Cllr Dianne Rees who chose to support the charity when she wasinaugurated as Lord Mayor in May 2018.