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Page last updated at 19:39 GMT, Sunday, 14 December 2008
Sports Personality 2008
Liverpool Echo Arena, 14 December 2008

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Hignell awarded Helen Rollason prize

Alastair Hignell has been named the 2008 recipient of BBC Sports Personality's Helen Rollason award.

The 53-year-old played rugby union for England and cricket for Gloucestershire before becoming a BBC Radio commentator on rugby union.

Hignell was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999 and has since been heavily involved in fundraising.

"I feel so honoured to be named alongside the previous winners and Helen Rollason herself," said Hignell.

The former cricket and rugby union Cambridge Blue made his last commentary for BBC Radio 5 Live at the 2008 Guinness Premiership final between Wasps and Leicester at Twickenham in May.

The award was presented by World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward while former Wasps captain Lawrence Dallaglio also paid tribute to the Bristol man.


Hignell worked for the BBC for 17 years and for BBC Radio 5 Live for 12 years, during which time he covered every major rugby union event, both domestic and international.

He was also a stellar sportsman in his own right. The first Cambridge student to captain the university at both cricket and rugby union, he played professional cricket for Gloucestershire from 1974 to 1983, passing 1,000 runs for the season three times and hitting 11 first-class centuries.

Hignell was a 19-year-old student when he made his England rugby union debut against Australia in Brisbane in 1975 - the "Battle of Ballymore" - and went on to win 14 caps as a full-back. He also played for Bristol for many years, somehow combining his sporting feats with his day job as a teacher.

The award is a tribute to former BBC presenter Helen Rollason MBE, who died from cancer in 1999 at the age of 43.

Helen fronted BBC's Newsround before becoming the first woman to present BBC Sport's flagship Grandstand programme.

Helen also raised 5m for a care clinic at the hospital where she was treated and a charity offering therapeutic support and development to men, women and their supporters following a cancer diagnosis was set up in her name.

see also
Hoy named BBC Sports Personality
14 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Charlton given BBC Lifetime award
14 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Simmonds named Young Personality
14 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
GB cycling team secure BBC double
14 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality photos
14 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
BBC Sports Personality 2008 as it happened
14 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Hignell hangs up his mic
01 Jun 08 |  Rugby Union
Wasps 26-16 Leicester
31 May 08 |  Rugby Union

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