'Proudest moment' for F1 champion Jackie Stewart

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Jackie Stewart, Britain's most successful Formula One motor racing driver, heads the cast of sporting figures named in the Queen's Birthday Honours List yesterday. The 62-year-old three-times former World Drivers' champion has been awarded a knighthood, an achievement which he described as being the proudest moment of his life.

On hearing the news, the 62-year-old Scot said: "This has to mean more, it's more important, than my first win or winning a world championship or my victory as a team owner. I was very proud of world championships and my career and all that happened in it and this honour is perhaps a reflection of that."

Stewart won the Formula One drivers' title in 1969, 1971 and 1973 and set a record of 27 victories during his career that stood for 14 years. After retiring from the track he became known as a tireless campaigner for driver safety.

In recent years, he returned to the Formula One circus as a team owner in partnership with one of his sons, a venture which has since been sold and renamed Jaguar Racing.

From the world of football, OBEs were awarded to the former England captain Alan Shearer, and the veteran BBC commentator John Motson. But one of the most touching awards is the CBE given to the 69-year-old former Wales, Leeds United and Juventus player John Charles, who for the last two years has successfully fought a battle against cancer.

"It's wonderful, but it came as a complete shock," said Charles, who was christened Il Buono Gigante ­ the Gentle Giant ­ by supporters of the Juventus in the late Fifties for his legendary sense of honour and fair play. "I mean, I've been finished a long time now. I've no idea why I've got it now."

Motson, or "Motty" as he is known, burst into the public's consciousness on Match of the Day while describing Hereford United's epic FA Cup victory over Newcastle in 1973. Since then he has commentated on more than 1,600 games and is famous for his bottomless supply of trivia and statistics.

The single-handed yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur, 24, is rewarded with an MBE for her exceptional achievement in finishing second in the Vendée Globe round-the-world race earlier this year.