- Former England captain to become Sir Bill Beaumont
- Current World Rugby chairman knighted in New Year's honours
- Volunteer Peter Robinson also recognised for services to rugby in north east England
- Find out how to volunteer for your club
Former England captain, Rugby Football Union chairman and current World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has been awarded a knighthood for services to rugby in HM The Queen’s New Year’s honours list.
The honour is in recognition of a champion of rugby, who has dedicated his life to the betterment of the sport on and off the field in both a domestic and global context.
Peter Robertson of Haydon Bridge in Hexham was also recognised on the honours list, being awarded a British Empire Medal for services to rugby in north east England and Scotland.
A family and rugby man through and through, World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Beaumont can often be found his beloved Fylde rugby club or watching son Josh play for Sale Sharks. He has always championed the community game and has made it his mission as chairman of World Rugby, and formerly as chairman of the ,to make the sport as accessible and simple to play and support as possible at all levels.
I am truly honoured & humbled to be awarded a knighthood for services to rugby in Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year honours. Rugby & family are my life & I always strive to do the best for the legion of players, volunteers & fans who are the heartbeat of our great sport— Bill Beaumont (@BillBeaumont) December 28, 2018
“The RFU is so proud that Bill’s unwavering support for and contribution to rugby has been honoured with a knighthood," said a statement. "For over forty years, Bill has worked tirelessly for the game, captaining his club, his country, and the British and Irish Lions.
"He has been a dedicated supporter of the community game and his passion for the sport he has dedicated his life to as a player, a supporter, a volunteer, and an administrator has been recognised with this honour which is deeply deserved ”
Beaumont was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2008, having previously been appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire. He is also Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire.
A rugby life
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. "I am fortunate to be in a position to give back to the sport I love."
For many fans Beaumont is best-known and loved for his playing exploits. He made his debut for England in 1975 going on to win 34 caps and leading England to their first Grand Slam for 33 years in 1980. He also played for the British and Irish Lions and later managed them on the Tour to New Zealand in 2005.
“I am honoured and humbled to receive this accolade from Her Majesty the Queen for services to rugby," said the 66-year-old Beaumont.
“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.
“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.”