Pal Neil Guirey opened letter from Buckingham Palace
By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor
Squash star Nick Matthew says he feels ‘humbled’ to have been honoured with an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen in her Birthday Honours List.
The three-times world champion admitted that the letter from Buckingham Palace had gone to his old address and that he had asked his friend, new Hallamshire squash director Neil Guirey, to open the letter and read it to him down the phone!
The most successful English squash player in history, the 34-year-old from Sheffield has collected 33 PSA World Tour titles, three Commonwealth Games Gold Medals and seven British National Championship titles during an accolade-laden career to date.
Matthew is also a Patron of the Children’s Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield whilst in 2014 he joined other global sporting icons such as Jack Nicklaus and Sebastian Coe as an ambassador for the PSA’s Official Charity, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
Matthew said: “I know my Mum will be beside herself so I’m almost happiest for her! Being a father myself now, I think it makes you realise how proud your parents are of you.
“Being given an honour is something which transcends anything you achieve on the court and I’d like to think that, when my daughter Charlotte is a bit older, her Daddy having a OBE is something that she can be dead proud of too.
“It’s incredibly special for me personally but it’s also great to see squash recognised like this. I think it’s a really great sign for our sport.
“It’s very humbling when you look at the other people on the list and you see how much they have achieved in different areas of life, especially all the people who have devoted their lives to helping others.
“The letter itself actually went to my old address, where my best mate Neil (Guirey) lives. He called me to say I had this very official letter and I couldn’t wait to hear what was in it, so I had to ask him to open it and read it down the phone to me.
“I think he was buzzing even more than I was. They tell you to keep everything so secret, so it’s quite funny that my letter got opened by someone else, but fortunately Neil is very discreet!”
An inspiration for the next generation of PSA players, Matthew also set up his own PSA tournament in Sheffield to offer young players a chance to build their careers and has been involved in the development of youth participation campaigns in his home-town.
PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough said: “On behalf of the whole of squash I would like to congratulate Nick on receiving an OBE.
“Nick has been an outstanding ambassador for the sport throughout his career and a model professional who is a role model to thousands of young players around the world. This award is deserved recognition for a man who is respected throughout sport as a whole.”
Matthew is also the only Englishman of the modern era to win three British Open titles and has led his country to success at the World Team Championships.
Keir Worth, Chief Executive of England Squash & Racketball said: “Nick Matthew is one of the world’s greatest-ever squash players and has been a truly phenomenal ambassador and role model for our sport.
“Nick has always taken huge pride in representing his country both in team events and individually across the world on the professional tour.
“He has continually broken records winning three World Championship titles, three British Open titles and has led Team England to success both at the Commonwealth Games and World Team Championships.
“We are delighted that his outstanding achievements have been recognised by the award of an OBE and I’m sure Nick will continue to inspire the next generation of squash players in England.”
NICK MATTHEW FACT FILE:
Personal life: He and wife Esme have a daughter Charlotte (born September 2014)
Achievements: Three-time World Champion (2010, 2011 & 2013), Commonwealth Games Triple Gold Medalist (Singles and Doubles 2010 & Singles 2014), three-time British Open Champion (2006, 2009 & 2012) & seven-time British National Champion (2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015)Website: nickmatthew.co.uk
Picture by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)