FOR many cricketing devotees in this parish, it did not require Theresa May’s resignation honours list for a knighthood to be conferred on Sir Geoffrey Boycott.
To them, he has always been ‘Sir Geoffrey’ in recognition of his stoic batting over many seasons for Yorkshire and England as well as his forthright views on the great game.
Performances that earned Mrs May’s admiration during her childhood when she inherited her father’s love of cricket, it is Sir Geoffrey’s second innings – as a charity fundraiser and radio pundit – which explain why this award, in the gift of the outgoing PM, will be so warmly received.
Not only has he become a very effective patron of Yorkshire Air Ambulance, but he supports countless local charities including the work of Martin House Hospice for children in Wetherby.
And their work has attracted wider attention as a result of his indefatigable broadcasting work – in particular his repartee with his sidekick Jonathan Agnew on the unrivalled Test Match Special. As Sir Geoffrey told The Yorkshire Post last night: “I can’t wait to see what he has got to say. I can’t wait. Aggers, I can’t wait for him.”
The knighthoods to Sir Geoffrey, and also former England cricket supremo Andrew Strauss, are a parting shot from a former PM who is finally free from the burdens of Brexit and high office.
Yet, while Mrs May will inevitably be criticised for rewarding a number of politicians and controversial former aides in such a way, this has always been the prerogative of outgoing premiers – Harold Wilson’s so called ‘Lavender list’ being the classic example. But it is entirely right that she recognises those loyal staff, and civil servants, who were integral to her government. For, given the sticky wicket Boris Johnson now finds himself on, it may not be long before they are viewed in a more positive light.