HUMBLE but proud, football legend Ivor Broadis was given the freedom of Carlisle today - and described it as one of his greatest honours.

The 95-year-old became only the 40th person to be made an honorary freeman of the city at a special ceremony.

The England and Carlisle United legend was hailed for a “truly remarkable” life, which also included wartime service in the Royal Air Force and a distinguished career as a football journalist.

After the ceremony in the civic centre, during which Broadis received a leather casket containing a scroll of freedom carrying an inscription, he told the News & Star: “I think it’s one of the greatest things that’s happened to me.

“Ever since I came here to Carlisle, the people have been unbelievable, and this has been the sort of climax.

“It is smashing, the be-all and end-all - something I would never have expected.”

Broadis, a formidable inside-forward, won 14 caps for England, playing in the 1954 World Cup in which he scored twice, and is the country’s oldest living international player.

He remains the youngest player-manager in Football League history, when he took charge of Carlisle in 1946 aged 23, having been posted to RAF Crosby-on-Eden after World War Two. His other clubs included Sunderland, Manchester City and Newcastle.

City councillors proposed Broadis, born on the Isle of Dogs, London, be granted freedom of the city at a meeting in July in honour of “his eminent services to the city”.

At yesterday’s ceremony, described as a “happy occasion” by Mayor Jessica Riddle, council leader Colin Glover said Broadis “met all the requirements and more” for the honour, saying: “You are widely recognised as a legend.”

As well as Broadis’ illustrious football career, Mr Glover referred to his RAF service, which saw him complete 500 flying hours on RAF Wellington and Lancaster planes, and his later career as a “well-known and much respected” football journalist.

He said Broadis’ recognition was fitting in a World Cup year which has also seen the centenary celebrations of the RAF.

Councillor John Mallinson, leader of the city council’s Conservative group, told Broadis: “Your lifetime’s achievements have been truly remarkable. Your time in the RAF, as a footballer and as a journalist in isolation would be remarkable - collectively they are phenomenal.”

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honour,” he added of a man he described as an “adopted son” of Carlisle.

Others to have received honorary freedom of Carlisle since the passing of the Honorary Freedom of Boroughs Act in 1885 include Woodrow Wilson, Field Marshal Montgomery, Willie Whitelaw and Prince Charles. The service men and women of RAF Spadeadam were also awarded the status this year.