LEGENDARY rally driver Paddy Hopkirk MBE was inducted into the Bucks and Milton Keynes Sporting Hall of Fame at a glittering awards night on Friday. Paddy, 86, who lives in Penn, is famed for stunning the world of motorsport in 1964 by winning the Monte Carlo Rally in the now classic Mini Cooper S – a victory which helped make the Mini a 1960s’ icon.
The crowd of nearly 300 people at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre, who were guests at the 14th annual Bucks & MK Sport Awards, cheered and clapped as he became just the fourth Hall of Fame inductee. – He followed Olympic legends Sir Steve Redgrave CBE and Greg Rutherford MBE, and Paralympic hero Sophie Christiansen CBE.
The evening is organised to pay tribute to the people and organisations who make grass-roots sport and activity happen in the area, while also giving the special Hall of Fame tribute to the county’s elite-level athletes.
Paddy, whose wife Jenny Hopkirk is a former High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, won numerous other races in his heyday and is still hugely involved with motorsports. He is a global brand Ambassador for MINI, as well as Ambassador for the Institute of Advanced Motorists Road Smart – a leading road safety charity. Along with serving until recently as President of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, Paddy is a keen supporter of the Wheelpower charity based at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.
He was presented with the award on Friday by the Lord-Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire, Sir Henry AubreyFletcher KCVO. Afterwards, Paddy told of his delight at being inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside three sporting greats: “I am terribly honoured and I didn’t expect it. To be associated with all these great people is wonderful – it’s terrific.”
The audience was entertained by an inspirational speech from netball star Ama Agbeze MBE.