Skelton handed CBE in New Year’s Honours list

Nick Skelton was made a CBE in the New Year's Honours. Photo: Mark Williamson

THE Queen will have another chance to tease Nick Skelton about his age after the Olympic gold medallist was made a CBE in the New Year Honours.

Skelton, who lives near Alcester, became the oldest British Olympic champion in more than a century when he rode Big Star to a dramatic victory in the individual showjumping competition in Rio.

The news of Skelton’s latest honour came on his 59th birthday, and he said: “It’s a bit of an upgrade. It’s really nice, I’m honoured to get that and it’s a great way to finish the year off.”

Skelton was made an OBE in 2012, a couple of months before winning his first Olympic title at his seventh Games in the team showjumping event.

The Queen presented him with the honour at Buckingham Palace.

“I think she said something like, ‘It’s taken you long enough’,” recalled Skelton.

“She said that again when I went to the Palace the other week. She’s a big equestrian fan, she follows it, so it’s nice to get something for the sport.”

Big Star has carried Skelton to both his Olympic titles and the Warwickshire jumper was keen to share the honour – even if his equine companion was probably more excited by the box of apples he received for Christmas.

“After all these years to finally achieve (the gold medal) was a great honour,” said Skelton, who worked his way back to the top of his sport after a broken neck in 2000 almost ended his career.

“It’s still hard to put it into words. I couldn’t have done it without Big Star, so this is for him as well.”

Olympic rower Matt Gotrel, from Chipping Campden, who won gold with the men’s eight at Rio, has been awarded an MBE.

Paralympic cyclist Megan Giglia, from Stratford, was also honoured with an MBE.

British tennis champion Andy Murray and athlete Mo Farah have been knighted.

Paralympic dressage rider Lee Pearson also becomes a Sir, while heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill and rower Katherine Grainger are made dames.