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Umpire Bird bowled over by OBE

Legendary cricket umpire Dickie Bird has been left bowled over by the experience of receiving an OBE from the Prince of Wales.

The former match official joked about needing a strong tipple after the Buckingham Palace ceremony, declaring: "I don't normally drink but I could do with a brandy."

The popular Yorkshireman described the award as a "great honour" and said it was something he would cherish.

Bird, 79, from Barnsley, was recognised for his sporting career and also his charity work, establishing his Dickie Bird Foundation to help underprivileged youngsters.

Speaking after the ceremony, he said: "This makes me look back to my playing and my umpiring days and also my charity. We give grants to help youngsters with their sports, they've got to be under 18, and my aim is to get them off street corners, get them away from television and give them a start in life."

Bird is fondly remembered as one of the game's great characters as well as one of its finest umpires.

He enjoyed a 23-year career as an international umpire before stepping down in 1996. He also played first-class cricket for Yorkshire and Leicestershire in his younger days.

But he criticised the use of replays and technology to help umpires make crucial decisions in matches.

He said: "I do miss umpiring, but it's completely changed now, umpiring is done by a machine, in my era we made the decisions on the field. If umpires made a mistake in those days people talked about it in the pubs, in the clubs, the press, the television, the radio - it was part of the game. Now it's changed so much.

"I certainly miss it but you cannot stop time."


From Belfast Telegraph