By John Ensor •
Updated: 10 Nov 2023 • 10:12
Sting, performing in 2013.
Credit: Piotr Drabik/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
LEGENDARY musician Sting was honoured yesterday by his hometown, something that has taken over a decade for him to accept.
A self-proclaimed proud Geordie, Sting received the honour of North Tyneside’s Freedom of the Borough on Thursday, November 9. Born Gordon Matthew Sumner in Wallsend, he finally embraced the tribute with gratitude, thirteen years after the civic honour in 2010, according to Sting.com.
So why did it take 13 years? It seems his hectic schedule of touring made it very difficult to give the occasion the respect it deserved. While visiting his roots he also used the opportunity to inspire the youth of the North East.
At the official ceremony in North Shields, Sting shared with ITV Tyne Tees his reflections on fame. ‘It’s a huge honour and I’ve had many, many honours in the world, but they were just manifestations of what I dreamed of here as a kid,’ he recounted.
The 72-year-old went on to explain that as a young man, he would ponder his future, envisioning global recognition for his music. ‘You know I was wandering the streets, wandering the beaches thinking, what am I going to do with my life? And fantasising that I could be a famous singer, or a musician and sing my songs all over the world and be famous.’
The artist, who first gained acclaim as The Police’s frontman before a world-renowned solo career, credits his upbringing for his success. ‘It’s about gratitude, about being grateful for where I come from and what that gifted me in terms of character,’ Sting reflected, acknowledging his down-to-earth origins.
Despite the seductive nature of fame, Sting has maintained his sense of self. ‘It’s very intoxicating, fame and success, but I never really lost that. I kept most of my sanity,’ before humorously adding: ‘Most of it.’
This prestigious honour recognises Sting’s global influence and dedication to North Tyneside. Despite his travels, he cherishes the past, even riding the Metro for old times’ sake, although he did admit to getting lost due to the way the town has changed over the years.
He remains a loyal Newcastle United supporter, and still dreams of performing at St James Park, a testament to his enduring love for ‘The Toon.’ He added: ‘Every concert hall I’ve ever played in, I play all over the world from Australia to New Zealand to Japan and there will be somebody with a black and white shirt on.’
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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