England and Leeds Rhinos star Jamie Peacock has enjoyed a career garlanded with honours - but even for him today’s accolade is a little bit special.
The 34-year-old prop said he was delighted to be awarded the MBE for his services to rugby league which have seen him established as one of the most respected players in the world.
He said: “It was very surprising to receive a letter saying I was going to get an MBE, I was immensely shocked. It was pretty dumbfounding and I have had to keep it to myself.
“It was fantastic news and such a huge honour for me and the game.
“For me personally it was good to be receiving recognition from outside the game.”
An intensely patriotic man, Peacock is enthusiastic about the Royal Family and looking forward to his visit to Buckingham Palace to receive his honour. He added: “It will be great to meet the Queen, I have not had the pleasure of meeting her before.
“I haven’t sorted out which suit I shall be wearing for the trip to the palace for the occasion – I need to check if I can have the day off first.
“I am just a working class lad from this area who started out just wanting to play with my mates.
“I was a bit of a late starter getting signed up – it didn’t happen until I was 19 and you don’t dream of stuff like this happening. My wife Faye and family have been a huge support to me over the years and I’m really pleased that the game has got some recognition.”
Although born in Leeds, Peacock was a product of the Bradford Bulls junior programme, and first began playing rugby with Stanningley ARLFC.
He also enjoyed a spell at Wollongong University in Australia as he learned his rugby trade.
Peacock made his name for Bradford Bulls for whom he made his Super League debut in 1999. He enjoyed several barnstorming seasons guiding them to the 2005 Grand Final before making his Rhinos debut four months later.
He has won a series of honours with the Rhinos, and was seen as a key part of the team which achieved a stunning Grand Final win in October.
He has shone for Great Britain and most recently led England as they last month came up short in the Four Nations tournament against Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org