The Bird’s the word

two medals for Cricket umpire Dickie Bird of Staincross, Barnsley who is to be presented with the OBE seen with his 1986 MBE ' See Story Tom Richmond  Picture by Chris Lawton'30 Dec 2011
two medals for Cricket umpire Dickie Bird of Staincross, Barnsley who is to be presented with the OBE seen with his 1986 MBE ' See Story Tom Richmond Picture by Chris Lawton'30 Dec 2011
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Owzat! Legendary cricket umpire Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year honours – and is visiting Blackpool Grand Theatre in March.

Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird OBE – who was previously awarded an MBE in 1986 – is not only the world’s most famous, and best loved cricket umpire, he is also one of the most entertaining public speakers of our time.

Awarded the OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours 2012 for his services to cricket and charity, ‘Dickie’ Bird began his cricket career in 1956 playing for Yorkshire.

He’d previously played football before an injury put pay to his career so joined his close friend, Michael Parkinson and Geoff Boycott in playing club cricket.

Between 1956 and 1964 he was a batsman for both Yorkshire and Leicester before retiring to coach at league cricket level and eventually became an umpire.

Widely regarded as one of the game’s most popular, and consistent, umpires ‘Dickie’ Bird was given a guard of honour by players, and a standing ovation from the crowd, when he umpired his last Test match in 1996.

After retiring he set up the Dickie Bird Foundation, giving grants to under-privileged children. Dickie told the BBC: “It’s for under-privileged kids, who the mothers and parents can’t afford to buy them sports equipment... and if we think they are a worthy cause then we send them a grant.

“And my aim is to get them off street corners, away from television, doing exercises and giving them a start in life.”

Dickie then said of his OBE, “It’s a marvellous and wonderful honour and I never expected it, really. It came out of the blue, because I got the MBE in 1986 which is a long time ago, and so when this came along I was completely stunned, shocked.”

In the 2012 New Year Honours local businesswoman Amanda Thompson, board member of the Grand Theatre (Arts and Entertainments Ltd) and Managing Director of Pleasure Beach Resort, was honoured with an OBE joining Grand Theatre Archivist Linda Tolson MBE and board member Tony Depledge OBE.

Of Amanda’s award Grand Theatre CEO said: “Amanda has worked tirelessly to promote leisure in Blackpool, the North West and the UK. Her heart is in Blackpool and all its leisure outlets, I’m very proud to be associated with her and so is the Grand Theatre, to have her as a director.”

Harold “Dickie” Bird’s evening will be full of anecdotes about the game he loves so much – and has served so well – with some fascinating behind the scenes glimpses of cricket around the world over the past 40 years. With an engaging character, the down-to-earth wit of a great Yorkshire man and an outstanding gift for storytelling An Evening with Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird OBE is not to be missed by any sports fan.

All seats for his Friday, March 9 appearance are £15 each. To book call the box office on (01253) 743339 or click on www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk, or visit the Grand Theatre information sales point in the Houndshill Shopping Centre.