SHOWJUMPER and Olympic gold medallist Nick Skelton said his eye was firmly on the Rio Games as he was awarded an OBE by the Queen yesterday for services to equestrian sport.
The honour for Skelton capped a stunning year for the sportsman, who won the Olympic team gold at Greenwich Park during London 2012.
Speaking after the Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony, the showjumper said: “It was brilliant winning the gold, especially in this country – I couldn’t think of a better place to do it and getting the OBE as well, it just makes my year.”
His career almost ended in 2000 when he broke his neck in a devastating fall when a horse refused to jump a fence. Skelton spent months in a metal neck brace and left the sport he loved on the advice of surgeons the following year, but was back competing by 2002.
Upstairs, Downstairs star Jean Marsh was also awarded an OBE for her career in drama.
The actress co-created the show with her friend Dame Eileen Atkins and also appeared in the 1970s hit drama series as Rose the parlour maid.
The performer said: “It feels fantastic. I’ve won awards and things but I never thought I would get an OBE – it’s extraordinary.”
Speaking about Upstairs, Downstairs she said: “Britain’s obsession with class has always been there. When Eileen and I created it we thought it would be a good idea to have the drama of not just the people upstairs but their servants. We had this thing of showing the servants and their private lives as well as the posh people.”