Fans hit for six by cricket star’s return home

Andrew Flintoff with some of the cricket memorabilia in the Harris Museum, Preston
Andrew Flintoff with some of the cricket memorabilia in the Harris Museum, Preston
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Cricket legend Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff came home to Preston to meet his adoring fans at a book signing.

The former England captain, who grew up in the city, visited the Harris Museum, in the city centre, on Friday evening.

He thrilled visitors to the historic building by posing for pictures, signing memorabilia, and chatting about his achievements following the release of his new book, Second Innings: My Sporting Life, which came out last week.

Elaine Silverwood, who organised the event, said: “It was really good. I chose the Harris to host the event because it’s where Freddie received freedom of the city in 2005.

“He is a lovely guy, so normal, and really happy to be back in his home-town.

“He is proud of being a Prestonian and has absolutely no ego.

“He gave lots of time to everybody and took pictures. He was really relaxed.”

Freddie, 37, signed books for more than 100 people, Elaine said, including some who had dashed into the city centre after work to get to the event, which started at 5pm.

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner also filmed an interview with journalism students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Before his trip, Freddie said: “I’m really looking forward to coming back to Preston.”

And after leaving on Friday evening, Freddie tweeted: “Thanks to everyone who came to my signings today. Hope you enjoy the book.”

Second Innings is also the name of Freddie’s stand-up tour, which brought the cricketer to the Guild Hall earlier this year.

Heading back to the north west isn’t a rarity for the star, who set a world record in Preston in 2012 when he managed to eat 38 peas in half a minute.

And Elaine, who owns Silverdell Books in Poulton Street, Kirkham, said: “He said he had been to the Pleasure Beach in Blackpool on Monday with his children and that it was a gorgeous day.”

Tickets had cost £15 and booking fee and included a hardback edition of Second Innings at a specially reduced price to be signed on the evening.

The autobiography promises ‘unseen, surprising sides to Freddie’s career and personality’.