Knighthood — told by Sir Ian Botham
“There have been some spectacular highlights in my life so far but nothing has compared to the moment in May 2007 when I received a letter telling me that I was to be knighted the Queen’s Birthday Honours List ‘for services to cricket and charity’.
There had been whispers and rumours of a knighthood in the offing for years, with people tapping the side of their noses and murmuring things like; Its definite this time; I heard it from a friend of a friend who works at the Palace’, but each time the rumours turned out to be false and, to be honest, I’d pretty much given up on the whole idea when the letter finally arrived.
As soon as I saw the official crest on the envelope my hands started shaking and I nearly tore the letter in half getting it out of the envelope. It arrived a month in advance of the official announcement but I was warned to keep it in ‘strict confidence’ and say nothing to anybody else about it – and they are ultra-strict on secrecy – so, although obviously I told Kath, or ‘Lady Botham’ as she will now be known around the breakfast table, straight away, I had to keep the news from the rest of the family until the news was made public on 18 June, the Queens official birthday.
It was torture to keep quiet about it but finally, we called all the kids and grandchildren together the evening before it was officially announced and told them and since it coincided with my Mum’s eighty-first birthday, we had a double celebration that night.
As a patriotic Englishman, nothing compares with having my work recognised by Her Majesty the Queen and its an honour and an occasion that I’ll never forget. It eclipsed great events in my life like my first Test match, Ashes victories and even Headingley 1981.
I was particularly pleased that my work for Leukaemia research had been recognised and though the award was made to ‘Sir Beefy’, I accepted it on behalf of the countless people who have helped me over the years in the fight against that terrible disease. The knighthood won’t make any difference to who I am and the way I am, but I will always treasure the honour bestowed on me and I hope the publicity and prestige that goes with it will help us to raise even more money for the fight against Leukaemia that is my life’s work.”