Sir David given freedom of Bristol

Sir David Attenborough has been awarded the Freedom of the City of Bristol - the highest honour the city can bestow.

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Sir David Attenborough has been awarded the Freedom of the City of Bristol

Sir David Attenborough has been awarded the Freedom of the City of Bristol - the highest honour the city can bestow.

The award follows a close association between Bristol, the BBC's Natural History Unit, which is based in the city, and the renowned naturalist and filmmaker.

Dozens of fans attended a ceremony at City Hall in Bristol to watch as Sir David's name was added to the Roll of Honorary Freemen of the City.

Sir David, 87, made a short, humble speech in which he accepted the honour on behalf of the BBC's Natural History Unit.

"I am receiving it in the name of the Natural History Unit," Sir David told the council chamber. "That is where the honour truly lies.

"I speak on behalf of the Natural History Unit to thank you for it."

Sir David paid tribute to Christopher Parsons and Desmond Hawkins, who established the unit in 1957.

"I had the honour and luck and privilege to be asked to join these two men," he said. "The honour belongs to them.

"I have spent 50 years with the unit and it has been my huge privilege to do so.

"In accepting this great achievement and thanking you all for the very, very generous things that you say, I do so in the name of the BBC Natural History Unit which is a world-class institution.

"Thank you very much on their behalf and truly on my behalf. I am truly grateful."

Sir David's career has spanned nearly six decades. Over the last 25 years he has brought natural history to the world with programmes such as Life On Earth and The Living Planet.