David Shepherd, who last season retired from international umpiring, has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of MCC - the guardian of the Laws of the game.
Shepherd made an immense contribution to cricket, first as a player with Gloucestershire and, more recently, as an umpire who stood in 92 Test matches and 172 one-day internationals - including three successive World Cup Finals between 1996 and 2003.
"I am honoured and delighted to have been given lifetime membership of MCC," said Shepherd. "It has capped a truly memorable year for me. I have many cherished memories from my career as both a player and umpire, and standing in a World Cup Final at Lord's - the `home of cricket' - is right up there amongst them.
"Lord's is a wonderful ground and I look forward to returning there, as an MCC Life Member, for many seasons to come."
Roger Knight, MCC's secretary & chief executive, said: "It is fitting that MCC, as the guardian of the Laws of the game, should recognise David Shepherd's immense contribution to cricket. No one could have done more to uphold the Laws and Spirit of Cricket than `Shep' - a much respected umpire whose levels of performance and consistency were of the very highest class.
"We are delighted that David has accepted our offer of Honorary Life Membership of the Club and I look forward to welcoming him back to Lord's once the new season has started." Other Honorary Life Members of MCC include Sir Garfield Sobers, Sunil Gavaskar, Ian Botham, Henry Olonga and Dickie Bird.
David Shepherd began his 40-year cricketing career in 1965, as a middle-order batsman with Gloucestershire, and became a first-class umpire in 1981. He retired from the elite panel of international umpires almost 25 years later - in July 2005 - after the England v Australia NatWest Challenge match at The Oval.