NCTJ photographer is awarded freedom of city

Award-winning press photographer Allan Williamson has been honoured by being made a Freeman of the City of Lichfield, in recognition of his photographic talent.

Allan, who completed his NCTJ training at Wednesbury, was awarded the rare honour in Lichfield’s historic Guildhall by the Worshipful Company of Smiths

In addition to historic privileges, including being allowed to drive sheep through the centre of Lichfield, Allan also received a scroll of enrolment and a special commemorative tie.

Throughout his career Allan has won nearly 40 awards for his work including a lifetime achievement award from Central Independent Newspapers, four gold Newspaper Society Awards, two Press Photographer of the Year awards and the Spirit of Staffordshire photography award.

Commenting on the honour Allan said: “Lichfield holds a very special place in my heart and it has been a real pleasure and privilege for me to photograph its unfolding history through my camera lens for over 36 years. To receive this wonderful honour from such an esteemed and historic Lichfield Society, the Worshipful Company of Smiths, for my photography, is very, very special to me and something I will always treasure.”

Honorary clerk Michael Watton said: "The Company of Smiths seeks to encourage and recognise craftsmanship by admitting to membership those who are skilled in a craft as judged by their peers – there can be no finer tribute.”

As part of the NCTJ’s sixtieth anniversary celebrations, an exhibition of NCTJ press photography is to be showcased at The Guardian in June. More information about this exhibition will be released in the coming weeks.

Photograph: l-r, Freeman Allan Williamson pictured with the Master of the Worshipful Company of Smiths, Freeman John Haggett.