Queen’s honour for cultural Frank

Former Lord Mayor of Liverpool Frank Doran from Rainhill
Former Lord Mayor of Liverpool Frank Doran from Rainhill

A ST Helens man who delivered John Lennon’s Freeman of the City to Yoko Ono has been awarded an MBE from the Queen.

Frank Doran, of Rainhill, has been given the immense honour in the New Year’s list for his services to Liverpool.

I am over the moon - it is a great honour. It is wonderful to think that spending time doing various things have led to me getting this honour

Frank Doran

The 65-year-old was Lord Mayor in 1996-7 and was responsible for the bid to make the city European Capital of Culture, which was successfully completed in 2008.

During his time as an executive member of Liverpool City Council, he also flew to New York to personally present Yoko Ono with John Lennon’s Freeman of the City, an experience he will never forget.

He said: “He never got the award because he died, do we flew over to New York and presented his wife with the scroll in Central Park. Afterwards we went to her apartment for a private reception.”

Frank, who married his wife Sandra three years ago, also served in the Parachute Regiment for 12 years and then transferred to the Intelligence Corps for 25 years.

He travelled all over the world, but kept Liverpool as his base until he retired in Rainhill around seven years ago.

And it was whilst in Kuwait that he discovered his hard work had paid off in ensuring Liverpool was given European Capital of Culture status.

He said: “We started planning the bid in 1998. As a councillor I was an executive member as I was deputy leader and I was put in charge of culture, heritage, tourism, sport, leisure and libraries and so I took control of the bid. I was responsible for making sure all the boroughs within the Merseyside area were part of the bid and I worked with other councils, including St Helens.

“In 2008 I was called into service for three months and whilst I was in Kuwait we all gathered around a large screen TV and I was the news as it showed a clip of me presenting the bid to Tony Blair.

“It was great to see we had achieved the status and it was a shame I was not around then to see it through.

“I greatly enjoyed my time in the forces. I was backwards and forwards to Liverpool, and carried out my political duties as well.

“I did a lot of operational tours in Iraq and the Middle East. I was a radio operator and soldier with the Parachute Regiment and then I was recruited into the Intelligence Corps.

“I had been in the forces 35 years and retired around seven years ago. My last post was in Liverpool, doing work for agencies within the military.”

Frank, who has two stepchildren and one step grandchild, has also worked at the University of Liverpool, doing research within the chemistry department for the last six years.

Speaking of his award, he said: “I am over the moon - it is a great honour. It is wonderful to think that spending time doing various things have led to me getting this honour.”