In pictures: Emotional Andy Murray is all smiles with girlfriend Kim Sears as receives the freedom of Stirling

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray strikes a smiley pose with girlfriend Kim Sears ahead of receiving the freedom of Stirling and an honorary degree from the university today.

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  • Picture By Stewart Attwood
  • Picture By Stewart Attwood
  • Picture By Stewart Attwood
  • Picture By Stewart Attwood
  • Picture By Stewart Attwood

He posted the picture on Instagram and said, "With Kim, out of the front of Cromlix House, busy day ahead :) #CromlixHouse #ScotlandVisit."

The tennis star  has said he feels honoured to be receiving the freedom of Stirling and an honorary degree from the university where he trained as a boy.

He returned to the area where he grew up for a series of events today.

He was given the Freedom of Stirling, the greatest civic honour the local authority can confer, at a special council meeting at his old school, Dunblane High, in his home town this morning.

Later he will be presented with the degree by the University of Stirling - where he used to play against students when he was younger.

The reigning Wimbledon and Olympic tennis champion said he is delighted to be receiving the awards.

He said: "They're all a bit different but mean just as much. Every time I come back here the support has been overwhelming.

"The reaction when I came back after the US Open and the Olympics is something that I can never quite get my head round.

"It's just always nice to come back and see the support and meet friends and family in Dunblane. I miss home."

The 26-year-old said he has been doing some research on the Freedom of the City award but is still unsure of what it will allow him to do.

He said: "I've read a bit about it on the internet. I don't know exactly what it lets me do but I don't think I can do anything different to anyone else.

"It's amazing, it doesn't happen that often, so it shows the support from the public, which has been unbelievable."

He added: "I'm grateful to Stirling Council, and the people of Scotland, for their continued belief and support, and want to thank them for bestowing on me this very special honour."

The sportsman has not been inside the school since he left.

The Freedom of Stirling has only been granted on four previous occasions.

Stirling Council decided to honour Murray after his success at the 2012 Olympics and his first Grand Slam win in the US later that year.

The tennis star's training and competition schedule meant he could only receive the Freedom of the City now.

Stirling Provost Mike Robbins said: "Everybody is buzzing about today's special ceremony. There's always a lot of interest and excitement whenever Andy comes home, and we're delighted to welcome him back.

"We hope that today's very special event will inspire young people to get into sports and lead healthy and active lifestyles."

Murray is also visiting Wallace High School in Stirling today to participate in a live BBC Learning Broadcast, where he will take part in a Q&A with schoolchildren across the UK.

This afternoon the University of Stirling will present Murray with a doctorate, during a private ceremony, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to tennis.

As a boy he trained on the courts at the Scottish National Tennis Centre at the university.

Professor Gerry McCormac, principal and vice-chancellor of the university, said: "We are delighted to welcome back Andy Murray to the university campus.

"One of the greatest athletes of his generation, Andy has broken the boundaries of British tennis and elevated the profile of the sport to new levels. His exceptional sporting abilities, diligence and tenacity make him an inspirational role model to our students and to people across the world."

Members of the public were encouraged to enter a ballot for tickets to see Murray receive the Freedom of Stirling.

Hundreds of entries were received, with around 200 locals being invited to attend the ceremony, streamed live to local primaries.

The tennis star spent last night at his new luxury hotel, The Cromlix, on the outskirts of Dunblane and was impressed with it.

He said: "I just got here last night and it's the first time I've seen it since it's all been done and it looks great."

He joked: "I hope they haven't charged me for a room but I haven't checked out yet so we'll see."

The 26-year-old arrived at his former school, Dunblane High, with his girlfriend Kim Sears and was piped into 'Murray Hall' to receive the freedom of the city of Stirling.

After receiving the award Murray picked up a microphone and told the audience: "I'm going to keep this very short because there's a good chance I'll get emotional.

"It feels good to be home."

He then paused and wiped his eyes in scenes reminiscent of his speech after losing the 2012 Wimbledon final to Roger Federer.

Murray went on to say: "I'd like to thank the council for voting me in, I was expecting a few nos.

"I'd like to thank all my family and friends and girlfriend for coming to support me."

He apologised as he took another break and was given a standing ovation as he said: "I think everyone knows I'm extremely proud of where I come from.

"It means a lot to me so thanks to everyone for coming along and I apologise for this behaviour."

The award came at a formal meeting of the council at the school with all councillors.

Stirling Provost Mr Robbins bestowed the Freedom of the City, saying: "I now formally present Andy with the scroll which confers upon him the freedom of the city of Stirling, here in Dunblane, and, from one Dunblane person to another, I'm delighted."

The high school's choir performed Vivaldi's Gloria to open the ceremony and finished by fittingly singing Will Ye No Come Back Again.

The corridors of the school are decorated with pictures of Murray and his brother Jamie celebrating their various tennis successes.

As Murray left the school hall for a private reception, he hugged his father, who was sitting in the crowd.

His girlfriend, Ms Sears, stayed behind briefly after the ceremony to speak to guests and laughed when schoolboys wolf-whistled as she left the hall.

Murray returned to the school hall later for a press conference and explained what made him emotional.

He said: "I don't get the chance to come back that often and I don't get the chance to see my family as much as I would like and I'm very proud of where I come from. So to get this honour from my local council means a lot.

"I don't think anyone would have really expected it - tennis players don't really come from Scotland, so it's a strange story, but proves that anything can happen if you believe and you dream and work hard, then you can achieve whatever you want to, so it's a nice story."

One of the ancient privileges of the Freedom of the City includes permission to drive a flock of sheep down the high street.

Murray joked: "I don't think it's the case anymore but I might give it a go this evening and see what happens."

He said he would like to get involved in sports and tennis projects in the Stirling area when he can devote time to it at the end of his playing career.

The tennis star was even asked about the sacking of David Moyes at Manchester United.

He said: "I don't think he deserved the way that he was treated, but I'm sure he'll come back and learn a lot from it and do a great job at another club. It just didn't, unfortunately, work out for him."

He was inevitably asked about any wedding plans, and responded bluntly with: "No, no."

As he left the hall he paused to chat, sign autographs and take "selfie" photographs with pupils.

Sixth year pupil Alex McRae said: "Everyone here is behind Andy at all his events so it was brilliant to meet him.

"He was overwhelmed by the people who came to see him and it was emotional for him.

"There's swimmers, footballers and tennis players in the school and I think everyone has been motivated by what he said.

"He even asked us about our exams and personal lives. He took a real interest and it just shows that he's a nice guy."

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