14 September 2018

At a ceremony in Worcester's Guildhall, Basil D'Oliveira was posthumously awarded the Freedom of the City of Worcester. The Mayor of Worcester Jabba Riaz presented the Freedom of the City Certificate to the cricketer's son, Shaun D’Oliveira, and unveiled an inscribed plaque which will be permanently on display at the Guildhall.

The accolade was made 50 years after the so-called D'Oliveira Affair, which prompted a sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa, which saw Basil D’Oliveira, who was of Indian-Portugese descent, initially not selected to play a tour of South Africa because of South Africa’s apartheid rules. After a national outcry in the British press, D’Oliveira was called up to the England squad, a move which prompted South Africa to cancel the tour. The D'Oliveira affair is now seen as a watershed in the sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa.

I was thrilled to be invited to say a few words in honour of one of my greatest heroes and began by congratulating Worcester City Council, and particularly the Mayor of Worcester, for making the decision to confer the freedom of the city on Basil D’Oliveira. You can read my speech here