I strongly agree with Rob Widdows’ comments on your website that John Surtees should receive a knighthood. His achievement as world champion on two wheels and four remains unique after nearly 50 years. Well done Rob for highlighting the matter.
Many of us will be aware of the relentless hoo-ha which accompanied each honours list until Bruce Forsyth was finally given a knighthood last year. I will not offer an opinion on the merits of that particular K, other than to say that if Brucie deserved it then Big John definitely does.
I don’t think, by the way, that John has been overlooked because he put any noses out of joint. It should be pointed out that he has in fact been honoured twice – an MBE as long ago as 1959 and then raised to OBE in 2008. That the latter appointment was quite recent may go some way to explaining the lack of a further elevation to K in the short time afterwards, disappointing though that is to all of us. By next year five years will have passed, so hopefully the K will be more feasible again. If not next year, then certainly one might dare to hope in time for John’s 80th birthday the year after.
Final point, Rob – OBE doesn’t stand for Order of the British Empire. That’s a common misconception, but it means Officer of the Order of the British Empire, just as the lower MBE indicates Member of the Order of the British Empire. When John’s a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, we’ll all be happy.
Adrian Muldrew, by e-mail