Council to Consider Freedom of the Borough for Local Illustrator
South Tyneside Council will be asked to consider a Freedom of the Borough honours for South Shields-born and world-renowned animator and artist, Sheila Graber, at their meeting next week (12 January 2023).
The Council will be asked to consider agreeing to the first steps that would be required to confer the highest honour the Council can bestow. This rare honour has been awarded by South Tyneside Council to 11 people or organisations since 1981.
Award winning Sheila Graber has demonstrated exceptional achievement in the animation sector. She has been involved in the TV series Paddington and her animations have been screened at the Tate Gallery, the Open University and on BBC's Blue Peter.
Ms Graber has engaged with students in the arts, by teaching both young and old through her roles as "animator in residence" at the University of Teesside and via her Honorary Fellowship from the University of Sunderland and involvement with Mortimer Primary School to guide, mentor and support the arts as part of the school's curriculum.
Ms Graber has enhanced the reputation of the Borough with exhibitions of her work at locations including South Shields Museum, the Customs House, and The Word. She has supported numerous charitable, and community causes, volunteering, teaching, knowledge, and skills in the arts, as well as donating the funds from her own productions to local charities. Her long and successful career has been complemented with various regional and national awards
Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council said: "Being granted the Freedom of the Borough is the highest honour to be bestowed on any individual or organisation.
"A cross party request to confer the honour of Freedom of the Borough to Ms. Sheila Graber was submitted and considered by the Constitution Committee.
"Constitution Committee agreed that Ms Graber is someone whose drive is to pass on her skills to others in her home town of South Shields and across the Borough of South Tyneside, to use her skills to support numerous charitable and community causes throughout South Tyneside, and to further increase the reputation of our Borough.
"A more successful, well-respected individual would be difficult to find and that bestowing the honour of Freedom of the Borough to Ms Graber would be recognition that is hugely deserved. After careful consideration, Constitution Committee agreed that they did indeed wish to make a formal recommendation to Borough Council."
If Borough Council supports the recommendation from Constitution Committee and agrees to proceed with the next steps necessary to formally confer the Freedom of the Borough, it would need to resolve to hold an Extraordinary Meeting of Borough Council in the future to make the formal decision.