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Wednesday, July 14, 1999 Published at 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK


Courageous Helen picks up MBE

Helen Rollason: Cried when she heard of her MBE

BBC TV sports presenter Helen Rollason, whose bravery in the face of cancer has astonished doctors, has collected her MBE at Buckingham Palace.

Queens Birthday Honours
The 43-year-old, who was the first woman to host Grandstand, arrived at the palace in a wheelchair, accompanied by a nurse.

Ms Rollason, who was honoured for her services to sport, broadcasting and charities, last appeared on television a month ago and has visibly lost weight in recent weeks.

She smiled as she left the palace, but did not speak to waiting reporters.

But a BBC Sport spokesman said: "Helen was deeply honoured when she was originally told about her MBE and she was determined not to miss her big day at Buckingham Palace. Her award is richly deserved."

Ms Rollason, who was voted Sports Presenter of the Year in 1996, was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer in March 1998.

[ image: Rollason in her Newsround days]
Rollason in her Newsround days
Doctors told her she had six months to live but she astonished oncological specialists by fighting on.

Earlier this year she received another setback when she was told the cancer had spread to her colon.

But she has not only survived. She has also publicised her condition - a documentary on her battle was broadcast last October - and has helped raise funds to build a new wing for a hospital near her home in Brentwood, Essex.

She is writing a book about her experiences. She remains a key presenter on the BBC's daily 6pm news programme, although her health has kept her off screen for several weeks.

Ms Rollason arrived at the palace in a wheelchair, accompanied by a nurse.

Also there on Wednesday were Arsenal and England footballer Tony Adams, who staged a successful comeback from alcoholism and a jail sentence.

[ image: Tony Adams:
Tony Adams: "It's a very proud moment"
The Queen was presenting the Arsenal captain with an MBE in recognition of services to football.

Adams, 32, who has 57 England caps, described his drink problem frankly last year in his autobiography Addicted, which was critically acclaimed.

In 1990 he was jailed for drink-driving and his marriage collapsed in the face of his alcoholism.

But in 1996 he stopped drinking and regained his health and form enough to lead The Gunners to the Premiership and FA Cup double.

Adams said: "I feel fantastic - it's a proud moment.

"This is my 17th season and I hope to have one or two more, but I'll listen to my body."

Another former "wild man", snooker star Jimmy White, was another reformed character at the palace.

[ image: Jimmy White chatted with the Queen about snooker]
Jimmy White chatted with the Queen about snooker
White, 37, a six-times beaten finalist in the world championships, has been dubbed the "people's champion".

The south Londoner received an MBE for services to snooker.

White said the Queen spoke to him very knowledgeably about snooker.

"She knows a lot about the game. She said there are fewer frames now - and she's right," he said.

White said: "I've been nervous before playing snooker but never as nervous as I was today.

"I made a complete mess of it - I forgot to bow and walk backwards at the end."

Women honoured

The Queen also presented MBEs to Stephanie Moore, widow of England's 1966 World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore, England's most-capped female cricketer Janette Brittin and jazz musician Kenny Baker.

Mrs Moore, who works for British Airways, received her MBE for services to the Bobby Moore Fund, which is helping to combat bowel cancer from which her husband died in 1993.

The former leader of the train drivers' union Aslef, Lew Adams, receives an OBE as does opera and concert singer Margaret Marshall.

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