Ian Botham on his 11th charity walk © Getty Images
Ian Botham, one of the greatest cricketers of the modern era, has been knighted by the Queen in her Birthday Honours.

As a player Botham was one of the rare breed who emptied bars whether he was bowling or batting as he almost always made something happen. Since retiring he has raised more than £10 million for Leukemia Research with 11 walks in the UK and Europe.

"I'm delighted that I've been honoured, not only for myself but for the people that have helped me get there," he told the Press Association. "My wife Kath organised most of the walks and this will be very much a family celebration.

"I have been fortunate to go to the Palace on previous occasions and I'm excited about the prospect of going there. To go there under these circumstances will be a very proud moment, it's very nice to be recognised for what we have all achieved.

"Tom Cartwright had a lot to do with my career as did Brian Close, but there are two people who I am sad are not here to enjoy this. My father Les passed away 18 months ago and it would have been a proud moment for him and also Ian Wooldridge, who was another long-standing friend and would have been pleased to raise a glass tonight. There are a lot of other people out there who I hope will enjoy this moment with me."

Looking back to his early years when he was a young player starting out at Somerset with Sir Viv Richards, who was knighted in 1999, Botham smiled. "How many people would have thought that Viv and I would be here when we started out in his flat as teenagers and used to go across the road to Roy Marshall's pub? They would make us feel very welcome and give us some tea because Viv and I were not the greatest in the cooking stakes.

"Who would have thought that all these years later that those two young guys would be honoured like this?"