Sting receives freedom of North Tyneside after 13-year wait

Sting travelled to the ceremony in North Shields by Metro

Music legend Sting has officially accepted the freedom of his home borough of North Tyneside, 13 years after it was offered.

The Wallsend-born songwriter was awarded the honour in 2010, but a "robust" touring schedule delayed him collecting it.

Sting said everything he had achieved "was dreamt up in North Tyneside".

"In a way it's coming full circle and having the borough acknowledge that is a kind of fantasy in itself," he said.

"I've won a lot of accolades and blandishments of success in the world, but all of those are just manifestations of things that were dreamt up here, when I was wandering the streets or wandering the beaches thinking 'what am I going to do with my life'."

'Fierce regional pride'

The former singer and bass player with pop behemoth The Police received the civic honour at North Shields' historic Exchange 1856 building.

He arrived by Metro from Newcastle's Central Station, a route that goes through his home town, but said he had only been saved from getting lost by a friend.

"Eventually I found my way round," he said.

"Of course the city's changed and Tyneside has changed, but enough of it is the same for me to feel home."

Sting signing a fan's guitar
There was time for fans to meet their idol

Born Gordon Sumner, the musician said there was a "distinct, profound sense of place" and a "fierce regional pride" on Tyneside that prevented him forgetting who he was.

"I think in my business you can," he said. "It's intoxicating and you can forget who you are.

"I don't come home very often and when I do it is deeply significant to me."

The scroll awarding Sting the freedom of his home borough acknowledged his "outstanding achievements, lasting influence on the global music landscape and advocacy for North Tyneside".

Asked what he wanted from the rest of his career, Sting said he had been touring since 1977 and wanted to continue.

"Walking out in front of 10-20,000 people who are all pleased to see you and, at the end of the night, they don't ask for their money back," he said.

"That's a great life and if that carried on for another decade I'll be very happy."

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