DFS founder Lord Kirkham granted freedom of the city of Doncaster
During Thursday’s (July 13) meeting of full council, members voted in favour of granting freedom of the city to Lord Graham Kirkham. Freedom of the city is an honour given to a valued member of a community in recognition of their work.
Lord Graham Kirkham founded the sofa supply chain DFS in 1983, having ran his own furniture store Northern Upholstery since 1969. From the 1980s, he became one of the largest donators to the Conservative Party, having donated £4 million in loans by the 1990s.
In 1996 he was given a knighthood, and in 1999 he became a peer of the House of Lords. During this year he granted around £455,000 to various charities via the Graham Kirkham Foundation. This included a £225,000 donation towards cancer research at Bradford University. His foundation continues to make donations to various charities each year.
The recommendation to grant him the title was given by Freeman Bobbie Roberts, former chair of the Doncaster Magistrates bench. Lord Kirkham will become the first to be given the new freedom of the city title rather than freedom of the borough.
Civic Mayor Councillor Duncan Anderson said: “Over the years, Doncaster has seen fit to bestow the honour of ‘The Freedom of the Borough’. As our status has now changed, the Freedom of the City award is the highest honour that the council can award to one of its citizens and marks a new chapter in the history of our proud city.”
38 councillors voted to bestow him the honour, with six abstentions.