London, Nov.18 : Former Test cricket umpire Dickie Bird and retired chat show host Sir Michael Parkinson were conferred Honorary Doctors of Letters degrees by the University of Huddersfield in Yorkshire on Monday.
University Chancellor and former Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart bestowed the honours on Sir Michael and Bird after they donned mortar boards and gowns and joined 70 graduates in a parade through their beloved Barnsley led by a brass band.
It marked 60 years of friendship and achievement for Sir Michael and Bird after they first dreamed of their lives ahead on the boundary edge at Barnsley cricket club where they both played together.
The Telegraph quoted Sir Michael as saying of Bird: "He's the nicest man in the world. He is one of those rare people you meet who what you see is what you get. He's very much his own man. He's not sophisticated and there's not much gloss paint on him but he's one of my closest friends. I'm his greatest admirer."
Bird, the son of a miner, already has honorary degrees from Sheffield Hallam University and Leeds University.
He quipped: "One more and I will have as many as Nelson Mandela."
He said of Sir Michael: "I have always been a tremendous admirer of Michael. We went our different ways, me in cricket and he on television, but we always kept in touch.
"This is a great honour and means so much to me. It is very special because this is my hometown and I still live here. It means a lot to me."
The pair received their awards in Barnsley Town Hall after marching from the University's Barnsley campus a few hundred yards away along watched by onlookers.