Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will confer the Honorary Freedom of the Borough on Sir William Wright CBE next January.
Earlier this year elected members agreed on the prestigious award in recognition of Wrightbus founder Sir William’s contribution to global business and the local economy, and his service to Mid and East Antrim.
It followed a motion proposed by then Mayor Councillor Paul Reid and seconded by Councillor Audrey Wales MBE.
Sir William met with current Mayor Councillor Lindsay Millar and Council Chief Executive Anne Donaghy recently to plan the official conferment ceremony.
The Mayor said: “The Freedom of the Borough is the highest accolade the council can award a citizen and we are delighted we will bestow this honour on Ballymena-based entrepreneur and pioneer Sir William Wright.
“At this week’s meeting of full council it was agreed the conferment ceremony will take place on Friday, January 18 2019 in The Braid in Ballymena.
“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 has faced and overcome what are challenging trading conditions for many and remains a key employer in Mid and East Antrim and one of Northern Ireland’s leading businesses.”
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 earlier this year 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.”