Many congratulations from everyone involved with Yorkshire County Cricket Club to Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird who received his OBE from HRH Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace today.
OUR NEW YEAR’S STORY
Harold “Dickie” Bird, the former international umpire who is an Honorary Life Member of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, has received the OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours.
Dickie, who received the MBE in 1986, has been awarded the OBE for his services to cricket and charity. It was in March 2004 that he set up the Dickie Bird Foundation to assist disadvantaged boys and girls under the age of 18 to participate in the sport of their choice, irrespective of their social circumstances, culture or ethnicity.
“I am very proud and delighted to have been awarded the OBE in Her Majesty’s New Year Honours List,” Dickie told me. “I was extremely surprised when I got the MBE, and even more so when I opened the letter telling me that the Prime Minister had it in mind to put my name forward for the OBE.
“The Foundation has helped scores of young people to get the opportunity to better themselves at sport, and I am honoured that this has been recognised with the award of the OBE. I would like to thank all the trustees of the Foundation for their hard work in making it such a big success.”
Born in Barnsley, where a six-foot statue has been erected near his birthplace, Dickie played as a batsman for Yorkshire from 1956 until 1959 before moving to Leicestershire, where he was a member of the playing staff until 1964. One of Dickie’s favourite stories is of how he scored 181 not out for Yorkshire against Glamorgan at Bradford Park Avenue in 1959 – but he was still dropped for the next match!
He had a spell of coaching and playing league cricket before he took up umpiring, but it was this that made him an international star. He umpired his first county game in 1970, and went on to stand in what was then a record 66 Test matches and 69 one-day internationals, including three World Cup finals.
Dickie’s final Test appearance was at Lord’s in 1996, when he walked through a guard of honour made up of the England and India players.
Dickie, who is President of Wombwell Cricket Lovers’ Society, has been bestowed with the honour of the Freedom of Barnsley, and he has received honorary doctorates at Huddersfield, Leeds and Sheffield Hallam universities.
Yorkshire CCC have already intimated that Dickie will be nominated as the Club’s President in 2014. President Raymond Illingworth CBE will serve until the Annual General Meeting in March 2012, and Geoffrey Boycott OBE has been nominated to succeed him.