Call for Freedom honour for Wrightbus founder William Wright

William Wright.
William Wright.

Mid and East Antrim Councillor Timothy Gaston has called on Wrightbus founder William Wright to be given the Freedom of the Borough.

The TUV councillor said that following on from Mr Wright receiving a Knighthood in the New Year Honours, he should also receive the Freedom of the Borough.

Councillor Timothy Gaston.  Picture: Press Eye

Councillor Timothy Gaston. Picture: Press Eye

Cllr. Gaston has put forward the matter to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for consideration.

“I feel Mid and East Antrim Borough Council should also mark his remarkable contribution to the Ballymena economy with bestowing him the Freedom of the Borough,” Cllr. Gaston said.

He added: “His vision and commitment to the Ballymena economy has seen Wrightbus under his visionary leadership create thousands of jobs as well as creating a recognised brand known all over the world.

“Before my term in council ends in 2019 I would like to see a bread and butter Ballymena man honoured by his local council.”

Dr William Wright CBE received the Knighthood for services to the Economy and the Bus Industry.

The founder of Wrightbus Ltd is one of Northern Ireland’s most renowned businessmen.

Born in 1927, Dr Wright began his career working in his father’s shed behind their house at Warden Street in the 1940s.

As coachbuilders, the father and son built frames for bread vans and mobile shops. From humble beginnings in the north of the town, he worked hard to move the business into the construction of buses, a process which saw it become the Wright Group, with Wrightbus its best-known subsidiary.

He built the firm up to the world renowned operation it is today, known not least for producing the new London Routemaster or ‘Boris Bus’.

One of the province’s largest employers, Wrightbus employs some 2,000 staff and has sites in Galgorm and Antrim.