Three former Wimbledon Ladies’ champions are the latest people to be given freedom of the borough of Merton.

Virginia Wade, Ann Haydon-Jones and Angela Mortimer accepted the honours in Wimbledon Park today, a stone’s throw from the championships.

The Mayor of Merton Councillor Agatha Akyigyina presented the awards - the highest a council can bestow on an individual - at the council’s annual children’s tennis event.

Virgina Wade won the Ladies’ Singles in 1977. Ann Haydon-Jones won in 1969 and Angela Mortimer took the title in 1961.

Men’s reigning champion Andy Murray was granted the freedom of the borough by the council last week.

Angela Mortimer said: "I feel very honoured to have been selected to receive the Freedom of the Borough of Merton.

"This is especially poignant for me because, ever since I first played at the championships in 1950, I have had very happy memories of Wimbledon - both the tournament and the town.

"The highlight, of course, was winning the singles title in 1961 but six years later John and I were married at St. Mary's Church while living in the borough.

"Furthermore both of our children were baptised at St. Mary's and our daughter was married there.

"I can think of no better place to be."

Ann Haydon-Jones said: "I am very honoured and extremely happy to be receiving this award from Merton."

Virginia Wade said she is hugely grateful for the award, and hopes that it brings recognition to the wonderful efforts that have been made to encourage youngsters to participate and enjoy sport and recreation.

Coun Akyigyina said: "These sportswomen are tennis legends and have been wonderful ambassadors for tennis and sport in general.

"Merton is proud to be the home of the most famous tennis championships in the world and by giving these awards we recognise the huge benefits players of this calibre bring to Merton and the world of sport."