Dickie Bird is a real British character. His personality and straight forward nature has endured him to a public outside of cricket. He is probably the most famous cricket umpire ever to have lived. But people forget he was a professional cricketer first playing both for Yorkshire and Leicestershire.
Dickie played in the famous Yorkshire side of the late fifties & early sixties coming across characters such as Geoff Boycott and Fred Trueman and his hilarious after dinner speech contains many anecdotes of the two men. Dickie is a born and bred Yorkshire man and played for Barnsley in his youth along with Boycott and a opening batsman called Michael Parkinson who went on to make his own name outside cricket.
After retiring from playing Dickie became an umpire, officiating in his first international in 1973. The famous Lords test had a bomb scare and the crowd came onto the pitch all Dickie could do is sit on the covers and protect his beloved wicket from damage. Almost immediately he made his mark without trying. As an umpire he officiated at over 150 international matches making him well known across the globe. Just how well known can be judged by the fact that his autobiography ‘Dickie Bird my autobiography’ is currently the best selling sports biography of ALL time.
Nearly every professional cricketer who has come across him has a Dickie Bird story to tell. His personal mannerisms, love of the game and above all the respect of the players have made him a very popular character. He was awarded the MBE by the queen for services to cricket and remains a popular supporter of the Royal family.
Having now retired from umpiring Dickie Bird is in huge demand to speak at dinners and indeed lunches where he regales and delights his audiences.
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Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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