Sports

Sue Barker leads sporting greats in the Queen’s Birthday Honours

S

ue Barker, Roy Hodgson and Kevin Sinfield are among the leading names from the world of sport to be recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Sinfield, who was already an MBE, has now been awarded an OBE in recognition of his successful career on and off the pitch in rugby league but also in raising over £2million for research into motor neurone disease, a condition which has affected his friend and former Leeds Rhinos team-mate Rob Burrow.

Barker, 65, left Britain to train in the United States aged 17 and enjoyed a successful playing career, with victory in the 1976 French Open the highlight.

Injury cut her career short and she moved into broadcasting, initially in Australia, and has become the main face of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage, having started to work for the corporation in 1993.

For 24 years she had been the presenter of the BBC’s Question of Sport quiz show, but announced she was leaving the programme earlier this year.

“It’s an absolute honour to be awarded a CBE. To have your work recognised in such a way brings such a sense of pride,” Barker said. “Myself and all my family are thrilled, especially my Mum who turns 100 next week.”

Former England midfielder Geoff Thomas has also been made an MBE for his work in raising funds for cancer treatment and research through the Geoff Thomas Foundation, having been diagnosed with leukaemia himself in 2003.

Another prodigious fundraiser is Sinfield, whose ‘7 in 7’ challenge – seven marathons in seven days – last December in honour of Burrow helped raise cash for research into MND, which has no known cure, and to support those like Burrow who are living with the condition.

Sinfield said in April he was planning a new challenge to raise even more funds later this year.

Women’s sport is well represented on the list, with Kelly Simmons, the Football Association’s director of the women’s professional game, getting an OBE.


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