Cricketers honoured by City of London for “courageous stand against racism”

Michael Holding and Ebony Rainford-Brent will receive the Freedom of the City of London tomorrow, in recognition of their powerful advocacy against racism in cricket and their outstanding sporting achievements.

Holding, a revered fast bowler for the West Indies team, nicknamed ‘Whispering Death’ for his quiet approach to the bowling crease, and Rainford-Brent, the first black woman to play for England and now, Director of Surrey Women’s Cricket, will be awarded the Freedom during a private ‘virtual’ ceremony at 3.30pm tomorrow.

Holding and Rainford-Brent, now, both respected radio and TV commentators for the sport, explained during their commentary of this year’s summer tests how racism has affected their lives.

Michael Holding spoke emotionally during a live Sky Sports interview about the racism faced by his parents in the UK; and in a joint interview with Holding, Rainford-Brent described how she had been “drip fed” racist comments about her ethnicity, forcing her to question whether or not to remain in cricket.

Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell, said:

“It is entirely right to call out prejudice in all its forms, wherever and whenever it is experienced, and Ebony and Michael have taken a courageous stand in speaking out against racism in this country and even, within their sport, in which they have both excelled.

“The granting of the Freedom of the City of London, which it is my privilege to support wholeheartedly, recognises how they have added their voices to the growing global movement to stamp out racism, and is given with our sincere gratitude.”

The Freedom of the City of London, which is believed to have begun in 1237, was used to enable recipients to carry out their trade. Today, people are nominated for, or apply for, the Freedom, because it offers them a link with the historic City of London and one of its ancient traditions.

The Freedom is also offered to individuals by the City of London Corporation to help celebrate a significant achievement, or to pay tribute to their outstanding contribution to London life or public life.


Media enquiries:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer (Arts and Culture), City of London Corporation

M: +44 (0) 7795 333060


About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.