Liam Neeson was awarded the honorary Rotary Ireland membership during a special ceremony in his hometown of Ballymena, Co Antrim.
Lynda Bell from Ballymena Rotary Club said the award was offered in recognition of Neeson’s outstanding achievements over a long and distinguished career as well as his commitment to charitable causes, particularly UNICEF.
She said it was the club’s view that Liam Neeson’s volunteer work for the charity over 20 years embodies the essence of Rotary – ‘Service above Self’ - and that no one was more deserving of this honor.
“Our club is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and we feel privileged that Liam has accepted our invitation to become an Honorary Member of it, Rotary Ireland, and of course the wider Rotary International family.”
Unfortunately, Neeson was unable to attend the event, but he sent a video message from his New York home:
Neeson said: “I want to pass on my heartiest congratulations to the Rotary Club of Ballymena on this, your 80th Anniversary; 80 years of service to the community is a magnificent achievement.
"I pay tribute to those founding members who had the courage and vision to establish the Club in 1943, right in the middle of the Second World War.
"I commend your members today who share that same commitment to improve the lives and conditions of people in my great hometown of Ballymena and across the world.
"I am deeply honoured to accept your invitation to become an honorary member and wish you continued success in the years ahead.”
Raymond Ruck, the President of the Rotary Club of Ballymena, said: “I am delighted on behalf of our club members and fellow Rotarians to welcome Liam Neeson OBE into the Rotary Club of Ballymena.
"We were also delighted to be joined on the night by Liam’s sisters Elizabeth and Bernadette who accepted the honorary certificate on his behalf.”
Rotary Ireland is a community-driven, humanitarian service and membership organization with clubs in every county in Ireland. It currently has 70 clubs on the island with some 1,500 members. It is an active member of Rotary International which has 1.4m members worldwide.