WHEN someone is given an honour that in the past has been awarded to the likes of Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela, you’d think they were a high-powered politician themselves.

But instead, this time it is an Essex osteopath who has become the latest man to be awarded the Freedom of the City of London.

James di Cicco, who works for the Cedar Hall clinics in Kings Street, Stanford-le-Hope and Hart Road, Thundersley, transformed a man’s life.

And he told how a chance meeting, which eventually led to his name appearing alongside those of Princess Diana and Florence Nightingale, occurred when he was studying at the British College of Osteopathic Medicine in London.

Mr di Cicco, 29, said: “While studying I did some work in the university clinic and one of our patients was having shoulder problems.

“It was a long chronic injury and he was coming in for about three months.

“After we discharged him he was really happy. He went from not being able to move his shoulder to full movement.

“He said he wanted to thank me and the next thing I knew he’d nominated me. I was flattered, but I didn’t knowhe would do something like that.”

Usually up to 1,800 people are awarded the honour each year.

The tradition of granting the Freedom of the City of London is believed to date back to 1237, and is one of the oldest surviving ceremonies still in existence today.

There are a number of rights traditionally allowed to freemen, though these days it is mainly symbolic, such as the right to drive sheep or cattle over London Bridge and, if found drunk and incapable by police, being put in a taxi home as opposed to a cell.

Not that Mr di Cicco, from Chelmsford, has any plans to participate in either activity. “I can’t see myself doing such things, especially carrying a sword in public, which is another privilege.”