As a reward for supporting the Brexit campaign Sir Ian Botham will enter the House of Lords

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Fieldsports has a new ally in the House of Lords as Sir Ian Botham has been awarded a peerage.

The keen Shot and fisherman was knighted in 2007 and is a vocal supporter of shooting and fishing, founding the “You Forgot the Birds” campaign to monitor wildlife groups and put questions to the RSPB on how it is protecting birds.

An upbringing in Somerset gave the first class cricketer solid countryman credentials. In an interview with Shooting Gazette in 2017 he said: “I’ve been shooting since I was old enough to hold a gun and go out with a farmer friend or my father. We never shot things for the sake of it; we always shot for the pot. So shooting has been in my blood since I was a kid.

“I take my dog and I don’t really mind what shooting I’m doing whether I’m walking-up, sitting in a hide for pigeon, in a field of beans decoying, or on a driven day. If pushed, my favourites are probably grouse or high pheasant. Then 
I also enjoy deer stalking and helping with the cull; I’m very fond of venison.”

A vocal critic of the RSPB, he has said that he’d like to “see some young blood within the organisation and maybe it would be a good idea to bring in someone from the outside with a different outlook rather than continuing to recruit from the inside.”

He is a strong supporter of land management, commenting: “If you want to see what happens to a moor that’s not managed have a look at a couple of the RSPB ones because they’re dead. Moors need looking after and the people responsible are doing a great job. It’s the same with rivers; they don’t clean themselves out so that migratory fish can travel. You don’t have to interfere with moors and rivers but I do think we need to give them a helping hand.”

The news that Botham has been awarded a peerage has been welcomed in the fieldsports community. Tim Bonner, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance commented: “Apart from being perhaps the ultimate cricketing hero, and having raised so much money for charity, Ian Botham is a passionate fisherman and Shot who has never been afraid to promote either sport. We welcome the news that he is to be elevated to the House of Lords and look forward to his common sense contribution on rural issues.”

Shooting Times contributor Richard Negus adds: “We live in a time when individuals are elevated to the Lords for increasingly unfathomable reasons. Sir Ian’s ennoblement bucks this trend, for he truly has served his country and its people with loyalty and aplomb. I have every confidence that he will defend our shooting sports with the similar rugged aggression and determination with which he demolished the pace bowling of Lilley and Alderman in the historic third  Ashes Test at Headingley 39 years ago.”