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Vaughan leads tributes to Botham

Ian Botham
He has devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to helping those less fortunate than himself

England captain Michael Vaughan on Ian Botham

England captain Michael Vaughan has labelled Ian Botham an "inspiration" following the news that the 51-year-old has been awarded a knighthood.

The former England all-rounder, who has raised more than £10m for leukaemia charities, was named in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

"Ian was the inspiration for an entire generation of young cricketers growing up in the 1980s," said Vaughan.

"But Ian's achievements go far beyond cricket and this is richly deserved."

Botham, who played 102 Tests for England, has raised the vast sum of money mainly through long-distance walks.

And Vaughan added: "With the help of his family and friends, he has devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to helping those less fortunate than himself.

"I know that he will take great pride in this."

Former England captain Graham Gooch told BBC Five Live: "He's been called a lot of things down the years but I think Beefy will suffice.

"It's a well deserved honour. He's been England's foremost cricketer of the past 30 years and he's put in all that hard work and all those miles for a fantastic cause.

Beefy came up and made me feel welcome. It was like I had known the guy for years.

Richards on Botham

"He's been the people's champion for cricket and I am sure he will be celebrating. He was a cricketer who put bums on seats.

"The players in the dressing room didn't watch every minute of play but when Beefy was batting everyone went out to watch because there would always be something happening when he had a bat in his hand."

And West Indies legend Sir Viv Richards, a good friend to Botham and godfather to his son Liam, told Test Match Special: "I'm so excited for him. He's come such a long way.

"I liked him the first time I met him playing at Somerset. Ian was supposed to be the fast bowler and all-rounder and I was the West Indies batsman everyone had high hopes for.

"I got out first ball while Ian hit a hundred and when I bowled I took 5-23. The roles soon reversed.

"Beefy came up afterwards and made me feel welcome. It was like I had known the guy for years. He's a wonderful human being."

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett

David Collier, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, added: "On behalf of the ECB and cricket throughout England and Wales we send our warmest congratulations to Ian on this great honour.

"Ian's contribution to both the game of cricket and his charitable works have been truly inspirational.

"He joins a very select band of cricketers who have been knighted and he fully deserves this wonderful honour."

Botham's former Somerset and England team-mate Vic Marks said: "If you spoke to his contemporaries, people he played with and against, you won't hear a word against him as he played the game well and you respected him as an opponent."

see also
A lionheart on and off the pitch
15 Jun 07 |  Cricket
Botham honoured with knighthood
15 Jun 07 |  Sport Homepage
Headingley '81... 25 years on
20 Jul 06 |  Cricket
Tributes to Botham at 50
24 Nov 05 |  England
Botham beats Flintoff for award
22 Sep 05 |  England

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