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World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont honoured with knighthood

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont has expressed his gratitude and says that he is “honoured and humbled” after being awarded a knighthood for services to rugby in HM The Queen’s New Year’s honours list.

The honour is in recognition of a Beaumont’s contribution to rugby, both domestically and across the globe.

Elected Chairman of World Rugby in 2016, Beaumont has wasted no time in acting on his mandate and has presided over a period of record participation, fan and commercial growth, particularly amongst young people in emerging rugby nations.

Prior to his election as World Rugby Chairman Beaumont was central to World Rugby’s decision-making bodies for more than a decade, serving as Vice-Chairman from 2007 to 2012, and was a key figure on the World Rugby Council, Executive Committee, Rugby World Cup Board and Rugby Committee bodies.

As RFU chairman, Beaumont presided over the delivery of what will be remembered as the biggest and best Rugby World Cup to date in 2015 – a tournament that attracted over 400,000 international fans and created a nationwide celebration of rugby that delivered record economic, social and participation benefits.

Beaumont said: “I am honoured and humbled to receive this accolade from Her Majesty the Queen for services to rugby. I have always viewed my work in the sport as an administrator as that of a guardian, driven by a passion to do the very best I can for rugby and the people who give up their time every week on the touchlines at rugby clubs around the world to inspire new generations of players, supporters and volunteers. It is as much recognition for them and all who work in the sport as it is me.”

“Rugby has been my life for more than half a century and has given me so much joy as a player, a father of rugby-playing sons and an administrator. I am fortunate to be in a position to give back to the sport I love, and I am as passionate now about rugby as I was when pulling-on that Fylde, Lancashire, England or British and Irish Lions jersey.

“Rugby has made great progress on and off the field in recent years, and I believe that we are on an incredible journey with significant participation and fan growth, while 2019 is set to be a game-changer as we look ahead to the first Rugby World Cup in Asia.

“In my opinion, rugby is the ultimate team sport – a sport with strong values and where the team is always greater than the individual – and I have been blessed to have played and worked with some superb people along the way who share the same passion for the betterment of the sport. There is, however, one person who has supported me above all else, through thick and thin, from my playing days to now – my wife Hilary – she has is my rock and inspiration.”

Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Former Melrose, Newcastle Falcons and Scotland lock Doddie Weir has also been recognised in the New Year’s Honours for his contribution to the sport and his efforts to raise money for research into Motor Neurone Disease.

The 48-year-old was diagnosed with the incurable disease in 2017 and has raised more than £1million to help find a cure.

Weir said: “I am humbled and honored to be recognised in this way. To be awarded the OBE for services to rugby, research into MND and the Borders community is particularly special as all three are close to my heart.”
“Myself, Kathy, Hamish, Angus and Ben – and those involved with the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation – have received incredible support from the rugby community and the Borders folk since I shared my diagnosis with everyone in June 2017.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their ongoing kindness and generosity.”

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