Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is to confer the Honorary Freedom of the Borough on William Wright CBE.
Elected members agreed on the prestigious award at a meeting of the council on Monday night, in recognition of the Wrightbus founder’s contribution to global business and the local economy, and his service to Mid and East Antrim.
It followed a motion proposed by Mayor Councillor Paul Reid and seconded by Councillor Audrey Wales MBE, and follows on from Mr Wright receiving a Knighthood in the Queen’s New Year Honours.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Reid, said: “The Freedom of the Borough is the highest accolade the council can award a citizen.
“I am delighted we will bestow this honour on Ballymena-based entrepreneur and pioneer Sir William Wright.
“Sir William’s vision and dedication has put our Borough firmly on the map as an area of manufacturing excellence and innovation.
“Wrightbus has been at the heart of our community for generations and is renowned for the outstanding quality of its work around the world.
“The firm remains a key employer in Mid and East Antrim and one of Northern Ireland’s leading businesses.
“This is testament to Sir William and his family and I look forward to Council officially conferring this honour upon him in recognition of his incredible success in business and the almost immeasurable contribution he has made to our Borough and its citizens.”
Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Anne Donaghy, said: “Sir William has provided employment to tens of thousands of our citizens over the years, showcased our area around the world, promoted and supported the education of our young people and provided a lifeline for many organisations and groups within Mid and East Antrim.
“This honour is our opportunity to recognise all of that fantastic work and, more importantly, to say ‘thank you’ to Sir William, from the people of Mid and East Antrim.”
The motion put before Council read: “This award is in recognition of his service to the economy and support for the community of Mid and East Antrim and also for his contribution to bus manufacturing internationally.”
The award will be officially conferred at a special ceremony at a later date.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will announce further details in due course.