SHE is The Queen’s representative in the county, and now Hampshire Lord Lieutenant Dame Mary Fagan has been awarded another honour – the Freedom of Southampton.

Dame Mary, who lives in Deane, was given the rare honour in recognition of her tireless work with charities and community groups.

More than 100 people, including mayors from across Hampshire, witnessed the historic moment at St Mary’s Church.

Presenting Dame Mary with the freedom of the city, Mayor of Southampton Councillor Derek Burke said there was “no one more deserving”.

He added that the vote by city councillors to award her the honour was unanimous, something which, he joked, was very unusual at the council.

Appointed as the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire in 1994, Dame Mary’s role is to be responsible for arrangements made during royal visits to the county.

Dame Mary told the guests: “I am totally overwhelmed by the honour. Over the past 19 years as Lord Lieutenant, I have always enjoyed my visits to your city.

“There have been many changes but I know that it is the people of Southampton who make your city special.

“Thank you for the honour you have done me this evening, and in return I shall try my best to serve the people of Southampton to the best of my ability.”

The honour means that Dame Mary has the keys to the city and can enjoy a number of privileges, such as walking her sheep through the Bargate.

However, she seemed to have something else on her mind as she jokingly asked the mayor: “Can I park anywhere I like?”