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TEN BRITISH SPORTING HEROES

JIM CLARK still considered by some as the most natural racing driver of all time, won the World Championship twice - first in 1963 and then in 1965. He won 25 Grand Prix races and was the first Briton to win the gruelling Indianapolis race in America. He was made an OBE for his services to motor racing in 1964. In 1968 during a Formula Two race at Hockenheim, Clark, 32, was at the wheel of his Lotus-Cosworth which left the track at 170mph (274km/h), somersaulted through the air and collided with a tree on a remote part of the German track. Clark suffered a broken neck and a fractured skull, and was dead before he reached hospital.

STIRLING MOSS raced from 1948 to 1962 winning 212 of the 529 races he entered, including 16 Formula One Grands Prix and was a pioneer in the British Formula One racing scene placed second in the Drivers' Championship four times in a row from 1955 to 1958. Moss is often called "the greatest driver never to win the World Championship". He would compete in as many as 62 races in a single year and drove 84 different makes of car over the course of his racing career. He retired in 1962 after a crash left him in a coma for a month. In spite of this early retirement he has remained a well known figure. His name entered popular culture when anyone seen speeding in a car was observed with the question "who does he think he is, Stirling Moss?"

BOBBY CHARLTON was born in Ashington, Northumberland in 1937. His four uncles, his mother’s cousin, Jackie Milburn, and his brother Jack were all professional football players. Bobby eclipsed all of them by becoming the most famous Englishman of his age. He survived the Munich Air Disaster of 1958 to become the most recognizable face of legendary Manchester United and England squads, including the England team that won the World Cup in 1966 and the United side that became European Champions in 1968. Bobby Charlton was awarded the CBE in 1973 and was knighted in 1994.

BOBBY MOORE led his country to its greatest footballing victory as captain of England’s 1966 World Cup winning team. A winner of the European Cup, the FA Cup, and the World Cup, as well as leading England out as captain for a record 90 matches, Moore’s skill and composure as a defender marked him out as one of the most natural footballers of his age while his intelligent leadership and generous personality earned him the nickname of ‘the first gentleman of English football’. In February 1993, he died of bowel cancer. Since his death a number of fundraising events for cancer charities have been set up in his name. A bronze statue of Moore stands outside the new Wembley Stadium, in honour of his contribution to international football.

GEOFF HURST made his mark in World Cup history as the only player to have scored a hat-trick in a World Cup final, an achievement made all the more remarkable by the fact that he was only five months and eight games into his international career. Hurst's contribution to the English game was recognised in 2004 when he was inducted in the English Football Hall of Fame. Hurst is also one of the few footballers who have been knighted. His third goal on 30th July 1966 inspired the most memorable piece of football commentary ever: "They think it's all over...it is now!"

GEORGE BEST led a lifestyle off-field that dominated tabloid headlines. On-field Best was a footballing icon and one of the most gifted players in the history of the game. He was a prolific goal scorer and was almost untouchable for defenders due to his lightening pace and two-footedness. He was dubbed "the fifth Beatle" by the British press because of his long hair, good looks and rock n’ roll lifestyle. In 1965, he appeared on Top of the Pops, and was unquestionably one of the first superstars of sport. However, his lifestyle led to alcoholism and Best died on 25th November 2005 after battling for almost 2 months against a kidney infection. 100,000 people attended his funeral in Stormont, Belfast.

DAVID BECKHAM is possibly the most famous man in the world! Beckham's career began when he signed a professional contract with Manchester United, making his first-team debut in 1992 aged 17. During his time there, United won the Premier League title six times, the FA Cup twice, and the UEFA Champions League in 1999. In international football, Beckham made his England debut at the age of 21 and became the all-time outfield player appearance record holder on 28 March 2009 when he surpassed Bobby Moore's total of 108 caps. Not only a talented footballer but an entire brand of his own. With global recognition he has become an elite advertising brand and a top fashion icon.

HENRY COOPER often regarded as the most popular of all English boxers and still affectionately known as "Our 'Enry", started his boxing career in 1949 as an amateur and won seventy-three of eighty-four contests. At the age of seventeen, he won the first of two ABA light-heavyweight titles. Henry was at one time the British, European and Commonwealth heavyweight champion. Cooper fought Muhammad Ali twice, firstly in a non-title fight in 1963 at Wembley Stadium. In the dying seconds of the fourth round Cooper felled Ali with his trademark left hook, "Enry's 'Ammer." Ali later said, on British television, that Cooper "had hit him so hard that his ancestors in Africa felt it".

FRANK BRUNO like Henry Cooper before him, has remained a popular celebrity with the British public since his ring career ended. Bruno became a professional boxer in 1982, racking up a streak of twenty-one consecutive wins by knockout. In March 1984 American James 'Bonecrusher' Smith, halted that streak when he defeated Bruno by knockout in the tenth and final round of their bout, with Bruno leading clearly on all three judges' cards. Bruno got back into title contention and challenged Mike Tyson for the unified world Heavyweight title rocking Tyson (for the first time in his career) with a left hook. Bruno finally became world champion by outpointing Oliver McCall in 1994.

MARY PETERS won gold in the women's pentathlon at the 1972 Summer Olympics having finished 4th in 1964 and 9th in 1968. She represented Northern Ireland at every Commonwealth Games between 1958 and 1974. In these games she won 2 gold medals for the pentathlon, plus a gold and silver medal for the shot put. She was appointed CBE in 1990, having been appointed MBE in 1972. In 2000 she was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire. Northern Ireland's premier athletics track, on the outskirts of Belfast, is called the Mary Peters Track in her honour. In April 2009 she bacame Lord Lieutenant of the City of Belfast. The Lancashire-born star, who moved to Belfast as a girl, is now deputy chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

IAN BOTHAM was a genuine all-rounder with 14 centuries and 383 wickets in Test cricket. Botham also held a number of Test cricket records, and still holds the record for the highest number of wickets taken by an England bowler. He is generally regarded as a great all-rounder, particularly in Test cricket, but actually received his knighthood in recognition of his sterling work for charity. Botham has been a prominent fundraiser undertaking a total of 12 long-distance charity walks. His first, in 1985, was a 900-mile trek from John o' Groats to Land's End. During the 1981 Ashes, Botham set a record of six sixes in a single Ashes Test Match at Old Trafford. That record remained unbroken until 7 August 2005.

BARRY JOHN is considered by many to be the greatest fly-half in the history of Rugby Union. John played his first international against Australia, on 3 December 1966 when a student at Trinity College, Carmarthen and went on to form a devastating combination in the Welsh team with the scrum-half Gareth Edwards. John was selected for the British Lions and for their 1971 tour to New Zealand scored 30 of the Lions 48 points over four Tests earning the nickname "the King." At the age of only 27, with only 25 Welsh caps and 5 British Lions caps, Barry John retired from the game. Barry John was one of the inaugural inductees of the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 1997.

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