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​​​​​​​A year on: Memories of star's red carpet visit

Swansea was in the national spotlight a year ago today (note: July 24) when Hollywood star Catherine Zeta-Jones walked the red carpet.

Catherine Zeta Jones

As the Swansea actor was granted the area's honorary freedom at the Guildhall the media zoomed in on the city.

As well as blanket coverage across the Welsh media and online there were positive stories on platforms such as the Times, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Metro.

The formal daytime event, organised by Swansea Council, helped the city mark its 50th anniversary as a city.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: "It's not every day that a city can celebrate an Oscar winner of its own making in such a way.

"We were delighted that Catherine Zeta-Jones returned to her roots to accept this honour.

"Catherine is one of our own and has always stayed in touch with her home city. Catherine is one of the most recognisable people on the planet and the people have Swansea have followed her career with great interest."

Jessica Rice, director of JR Events & Catering who managed a night-time event in the Brangwyn Hall, said: "For an events company, working with Hollywood royalty really was a dream come true.

"Catherine and Michael were a dream to work with, and I will forever look back on the event as one of my favourites.

"The event showcased Swansea around the globe, and to see the branding of so many local businesses, including our own as the event organisers, feature on reports around the world filled me with pride for our wonderful region."

The actor, husband Michael Douglas and their son Dylan took centre stage at the Guildhall event that was webcast live from the city where she grew up, as she received the highest honour her community can bestow.

Following the ceremony Catherine hosted the Brangwyn evening of entertainment, reminiscing about her childhood in Swansea and her career in theatre and film.

The event included a surprise message of congratulations from Sir David Jason, who played Pa Larkin to Catherine's Mariette in ITV show The Darling Buds of May.

In accepting her honorary freedom, Catherine paid tribute to her friends and family for their support, as well as the head teacher of Dumbarton, the former private school in Swansea where she was educated.

She said: "I thank him for allowing me to go London to pursue a career knowing that if it didn't work out I could return to complete my studies in Swansea."

Catherine Zeta-Jones CBE began her career on the stage in London before becoming a TV star.

She won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Velma Kelly in the screen adaptation of Broadway musical Chicago. Catherine was also nominated for a Golden Globe and won the Critics' Choice Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.

During her career Catherine has been an ambassador for Swansea and has worked with a number of charities. In 2010, she was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to the film industry and charity.

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