HE gave thousands of batsmen out in a career which saw him become the world’s most famous umpire – but Harold “Dickie” Bird admitted to being bowled over by a letter revealing that he was to receive an OBE in today’s New Year Honours.
He joins figures including major-winning golfers Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke, Doncaster’s world taekwondo champion Sarah Stevenson, Leeds Rhinos rugby league legend Jamie Peacock and comedian Ronnie Corbett in being recognised. Yesterday he told of his shock at his latest accolade. “I thought it was a bill,” he said. “I thought I was a dream, in another world. I feel very, very humble but I am honoured, delighted and proud.
“The Queen, she likes her cricket. I’ve met her 29 times and she’ll probably say ‘We meet again Dickie’.”
He added: “This OBE must be the number one achievement in my life. It doesn’t get any better does it?
“It will be a surprise to my sister and niece when they read the Yorkshire Post – I was sworn to secrecy.”
Other honours go to TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, actress Helena Bonham Carter and property tycoon Gerald Ronson, who was jailed for a share scam in 1990, but gets a CBE for services to charity.