A FORMER Powys mayor has described it as “a day to remember” after finally collecting the MBE he was awarded by the Queen last year.

Bill Higginson, a lifelong cricket fanatic who has done so much to develop the game in Powys, was accompanied by wife Liz as he finally fielded his MBE from Princess Anne at a ceremony at Windsor Castle in November.

Bill, a former Llandrindod Wells mayor, who lives in Presteigne, is a former first-class cricketer who played a handful of games for Middlesex and Nottinghamshire in the 1960s before going on to immerse himself in the game and make a huge mark off the field. In his later career he moved to Powys where he worked as a cricket development officer for Mid Wales. Then, after retiring, he changed the face of the game for disabled cricketers by becoming involved with the British Association for Cricketers with Disabilities (BACD) from 1998 until 2019, retiring as chairman and boasting a legacy of seeing the organisation transferred to the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“Princess Anne, who made the presentation, was delightful and made me feel relaxed,” said Bill, 84.

“Our exchange touched on her interest in riding for the disabled which linked perfectly with my own voluntary work for cricketers with disabilities.

“We enjoyed travelling through the stunning castle interiors containing a fascinating collection of past monarchs’ portraits. It was a truly memorable experience. A day to remember.”

The award was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2020, but due to Covid-19 Bill was unable to get his hands on his MBE until the November 23 ceremony.

Bill enjoyed a colourful cricketing career that included a coaching stint in Kenya and being an umpire and a matchday announcer at Lord’s, renowned as the home of cricket, before moving to Powys.

Bill’s first introduction to the disabled side of the game was when he was living in Llandrindod; he attended a training session at Christ College, in Brecon, and was hooked immediately, soon becoming the Welsh disability team’s first coach and manager.

Out of the blue he was introduced to cricketers with assorted disabilities, from multiple sclerosis to cerebral palsy, as well as amputees, partially sighted athletes and those with learning disorders.

As manager/coach to the Welsh disability team, he eventually became involved in the formation of the BACD, going on to serve as chairman and president.

He helped things progress nationally with two competitions created involving players with either physical or learning difficulties. A partnership was formed with the ECB and both physical and learning disability teams now have full squads playing against India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands, Ireland and Scotland.

Last year the BACD received a special award at the ECB’s annual OSCAs (Outstanding Services to Cricket Awards) ceremony at Lord’s Cricket Ground, where Bill had begun his career as a member of the groundstaff, in 1953.

“It came as a complete shock,” admitted Bill when he originally found out he’d been named an MBE recipient in October 2020.

And the first person he called with the news was old pal Simon Hickton, a disabled Army veteran, now living in New Zealand, who inspired him to get involved with the disabled side of the game.

“It’s very exciting but also very humbling. It’s an award with my name on it but for me it’s a shared award, it really should go to all the volunteers for disabled cricket over the years.

“It’s a nice reward for the hard work that everyone has done.”

During his time in Llandrindod Bill was also president of the Rotary International and a founding member of the Llandrindod Wells Lions Club.