Arise Sir Bill. Lancashire’s rugby legend Bill Beaumont has been knighted in the New Year’s Honours.
The 66-year-old former Fylde, England and British and Irish Lions skipper heads an illustrious group of honours winners from the Red Rose county in the list.
Beaumont, who was born in Chorley, has been recognised for his services to the sport - he is currently chairman of World Rugby. He confessed he was “honoured and humbled” by the accolade.
Other Lancastrians honoured include Booths grocery chain boss Edwin Booth, who becomes a CBE for his contribution to business and charity.
Probation service chief Lynda Marginson, who grew up in Bamber Bridge and went to school in Penwortham, also gets a CBE.
And Deputy Chief Constable Adrian McAllister, of Lancashire Constabulary, is awarded an OBE for services to policing, criminal justice and child protection.
Beaumont joins Sir Clive Woodward, Sir Ian McGeechan and Sir Gareth Edwards in an exclusive group of rugby knights.
He said: “I have always viewed my work in the sport as an administrator as that of a guardian, driven by a passion to do the very best I can for rugby and the people who give up their time every week on the touchlines at rugby clubs around the world to inspire new generations of players, supporters and
“It is as much recognition for them and all who work in the sport as it is for me.”
During his playing career he was capped by England 35 times - 21 as captain. He made his Test debut in 1975, taking over as skipper three years later.
His crowning glory in an England shirt was leading the side to the 1980 Grand Slam - England’s first Five Nations clean sweep for 23 years - which underpinned his appointment as Lions skipper in South Africa later that year.
He played in 10 of the 18 tour games, but the Lions lost the Test series 3-1 to a dominant Springboks side.
Beaumont retired from rugby in 1982 and became a popular face on the BBC’s A Question of Sport, becoming a long-serving team captain.
He has also enjoyed a successful career in rugby administration, initially representing England on the International Rugby Board from 1999, and he became RFU chairman in 2012.
Beaumont was unanimously elected as chairman of World Rugby in 2016. Two other rugby greats are also honoured. Ireland’s Willie John McBride, 78, becomes a CBE, 47 years after he was honoured with an MBE, and Scotland’s Doddie Weir, 48, picks up an OBE.
England football manager Gareth Southgate gets an OBE and skipper Harry Kane an MBE for their contribution to the team reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia.
Cycling’s Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas also gets an OBE and Ex-England cricket captain Alastair Cook is knighted.