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Slade's Noddy gets hometown nod

Icon Holder "thrilled" to be given the freedom of Walsall and hopes it'll raise profile of Black Country arts

Slade icon Noddy Holder has been awarded the freedom of his home town of Walsall – and he hopes it raises the profile of arts in the Black Country.

Holder, 68, who retired from the band in 1992, was told by Mayor Peter Smith that he'd been granted the honour "in grateful recognition of service to the entertainment and music industry of the last 50 years."

Smith told the BBC: "Noddy is a down-to-earth guy and proud of his Walsall roots."

Holder himself said: "I think I've flown the flag for the West Midland and the Black Country. It has some of the best artists, produced great bands, comedians and dancers – but people outside don't recognise them.

"I only wish my mum and dad were alive to be here."

And although he now lives in Cheshire, he revealed he regularly returned to the place he grew up for "a decent curry."

He last year opened a glam rock exhibition in the Tate Liverpool gallery and discussed how Slade's flamboyant fashions eclipsed their music for many, saying: "They thought it was very flippant. They didn't take us as seriously as we wanted to be taken as musicians."

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