67 year old follows in the Queen Mother's footsteps

Never mind the Oscars?… Hosted by Sir Terry Wogan, KBE, the Oldie Magazine’s annual Oldie of the Year Awards are being held today in London, and have named Sir Robin Knox-Johnston “Oldie Seadog Of The Year” to celebrate his outstanding achievement of racing single-handed, around the globe at the age of 67.

Wogan was joined on the judging panel by Jon Snow, Maureen Lipman, Ned Sherrin, Gyles Brandreth and The Oldie’s editor Richard Ingrams.

The ceremony took place today at Simpson’s-in-the-Strand. Guests at the event were made up from The Oldie contributors and friends of the magazine and included Ian Hislop, Sir John Mortimer, Maureen Lipman, Gloria Hunniford, Beryl Bainbridge, Peter O’Toole, Jeremy Irons, June Whitfield and Barry Cryer.

As Sir Robin is still at sea, his daughter Sara accepted the award on his behalf and read out Sir Robin’s acceptance speech. “Ladeez and Gennelmen, I had not considered myself even starting the apprenticeship to beconsidered an Oldie until your message came though. Old to me is 85 years, not the springtime of my third phase. However, when I looked at the panel I realised that such a collection of talent could not possibly be wrong, so maybe I am old enough to be an Oldie after all. And if one is going to be classified as old, it is nice to have it recognised in this manner. I am sorry I cannot be with you. I am currently racing north off the Brazilian coast and won’t be home until May trying to prove, with indifferent success, that age is no bar to activity. It is with gratitudethat I accept this award and regret that I am not there to be able to meet so many who are on my list of those I would like to meet. Thank you.”

Past winners have included The Queen Mother, The Duchess of Cornwall, Spike Milligan, Tony Benn, Barbara Windsor, Peter O’Toole, Jeremy Paxman, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Sir David Attenborough. Other winners on the day were Leslie Phillips, Liz Smith, Charles Wheeler and Marjorie Wallace. This award is made all the more poignant by the fact that it is Sir Robin’s 68th birthday this Saturday, 17th March.