Working class hero from W9 deserves freedom of Westminster

local W9 hero shows his class

The Mayor is right to triumph how true athletes like Wiggins can inspire us all to a brighter sporting future, it’s just a real pity that the great and the good at the City of Westminster failed to realise this after his victories in 2008.

The winning of the Tour de France by local W9 boy Bradley Wiggins is truly remarkable, not only as the first British person to have achieved this accolade but by the manner of the victory and the style in which he did it.  It will no doubt have a dramatic effect on the London 2012 Olympics as he returns to London to compete in the cycle road race next weekend; similar to the effect by Greece’s EURO Cup victory on the 2004 games in Athens, which I was lucky enough to witness first hand.

I welcome the call from papers like the Daily Telegraph for some recognition of his achievement nationally with even a knighthood, but it is a shame that his home borough, the City of Westminster turned down a proposal to award him the Freedom of the City in 2008 when it was put up Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg.  This was despite him winning 2 gold medals at the Athens Olympic Games brining his Olympic haul to 6 medals including 4 golds! That made him the greatest Olympiad to hail from the City.  The Tories simply refused saying they would put up a plaque at Paddington Recreation ground instead, which we are still unsure ever got done. Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg will no doubt pursue this again in light of Wiggin’s latest achievements in France and I wish this initiative again much success but l hope snobbery won’t get in the way on this occasion.

Now Bradley grew up in Maida Vale on the Church Commissioners Dibdin House estate just before Kilburn proper begins and falls within the W9 post code.  When was a bit of Westminster ever in Kilburn, you may ask?   He attended the local school, St Augustine’s in the City of Westminster and used local sports facilities like Paddington Recreation ground and Hyde Park for his sporting endeavours.  But he had to leave Westminster to pursue his dreams because the best training centre for his cycling ambitions were at the Commonwealth Game’s velodrome in Manchester.  However, his mother and grandmother remained in the neighbourhood.

So we have a working class hero from W9 and while he may not have got the recognition he deserves from his home borough in 2008, he has moved onto much greater things and should  now be awarded the recognition he deserves, locally, nationally and globally. Westminster sadly missed an opportunity, to celebrate a local hero and to inspire others in the borough to follow in his footsteps some 4 years earlier.

6 thoughts on “Working class hero from W9 deserves freedom of Westminster

  1. MC

    Well said Murad. Treatment of Wiggins by Westminster Council has been a disgrace! Hopefully we’ll see him in the opening ceremony for the Olympics and a Knighthood for the recognition he deserves.

  2. Pedal_Power

    A stirring piece on the truly great achievements of Mr Wiggins. However I felt a couple of things should be pointed out; firstly the working class moniker is actually inaccurate and secondly the appropriation of his childhood belonging to Westminster is also misguided. Wiggins was born in Ghent, Belgium, the reason he speaks fluent French amongst other European languages, his father was an Australian endurance cyclist and he only moved to London after his parents separated. He started training and competing at the Herne Hill velodrome from the age of 12 and represented the borough of Camden at the London Youth Games as a teenager. So rather than being a true West Londoner as your piece suggests, Wiggins is the product of a global mish mash of cultures and a cornucopia of geographical influences. I rest my case.

    1. Murad

      Thanks for the compliment.

      I emphasis his time in Dibdin House, as clearly these were his formative years. Like many in the City of Westminster, he was born somewhere else (eg l was borne in Greater Manchester ) but most importantly brought up in the City.

      I find the idea that he represented Camden more then abit odd given his secondary school, St Augustine CE is clearly in that bit of the City of Westminster which borders Camden & Brent just before Kilburn begins properly.

      As for Herne Hill velodrome, it undoubted played apart as we don’t have such facilities in West London. Paddington Rec did have some basic track cycling facilities but he would have grown out of it very quickly, if it was still there at all. Nonetheless he was still resident of the City when he made his daily trips to the velodrome.

      So l trust you feel my argument still holds some water.

      More importantly l hope he does light the Olympic fame tonight in the opening.


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