Saturday, 2 July 2016 14:15 PM BST
Galaxy of sports stars fill Royal Box

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On the middle Saturday of The Championships, the Chairman of the All England Club, Philip Brook, traditionally invites guests from the world of sport to the Royal Box.

It is, without fail, a starry collective and the summaries of their inspiring feats accompanied by video footage on the scoreboards prompt huge cheers and applause. This year the superstellar invitees included some of the members of England’s victorious 1966 World Cup-winning squad.

In addition, the Club also takes the opportunity to recognise the contribution of the armed forces and of the Service Stewards here at Wimbledon. You can see the incredible respect and warmth shown to Joy Lofthouse, one of the few female Spitfire and Hurricane pilots who served in the Second World War.

“It gets me every time,” you hear people say, as they wipe away tears as the Centre Crowd collective rise to their feet to give the services personnel a long and heart-felt standing ovation. In case you missed the emotional scene-setter for today’s action, here are Sue Barker’s introductions in full:


Opening the batting for our sporting guests are five stars of cricket...

A player who captained England in more than 200 internationals, breaking countless records and putting women’s cricket on the map: Charlotte Edwards.

The current New Zealand skipper who was named Woman Cricketer of the Year for 2015: Suzie Bates.

Two bowlers who have led England’s attack over the last decade, and who have both topped the world Test rankings this year: Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad.

And a batsman who made more than 8,000 Test runs in his playing career, and is now renowned as a straight-talking commentator: Geoffrey Boycott.


Now let’s salute two of Britain’s finest fighters...

She is the first female Olympic and Commonwealth boxing champion - and in May she added the world title to her list of honours: Nicola Adams.

And a former four-time super-middleweight world champion who is also celebrating his birthday today: Carl Froch.



From boxing to two players who packed a punch on the rugby field, who captained their countries, and the British and Irish Lions, with great distinction...

He was a no-nonsense lock who led England to Grand Slam victory and who is now head of World Rugby: Bill Beaumont.

And he’s a former Irish centre who is the second most-capped player in rugby union history: Brian O’Driscoll.



The Rio Olympics begin in just 34 days' time, and we’re delighted to be joined by three stars from Games past...

A woman who so memorably struck heptathlon gold at the Sydney Olympics 16 years ago: Denise Lewis.

And a record six-time gold medal-winning cyclist who’s switched from sprinting on two wheels to endurance events on four, recently completing the Le Mans 24 Hour race: Sir Chris Hoy.


This year sees the inaugural wheelchair singles competitions at Wimbledon, and we’re joined by two of the British contenders who will also compete at the Paralympics in Rio...

First is a young Scot who won his first singles Grand Slam title in Australia earlier this year: Gordon Reid.

And we are also joined by the reigning US Open champion who completed a memorable calendar Grand Slam in doubles two years ago: Jordanne Whiley.



This month marks the 50th anniversary of England’s finest football hour – winning the 1966 World Cup – and we’re thrilled to be joined by some of the victorious squad members from that historic summer...

Please welcome Gordon Banks, Sir Bobby Charlton, Ron Flowers, Roger Hunt, Sir Geoff Hurst – and representing captain Bobby More, the founder of the charity named in his honour, his widow Stephanie.

Also here is an England captain from more recent times. He was a midfielder who earned 115 caps, won league titles in four different countries and, in the process, became one of the most recognised sportsmen on the planet: Ladies and gentlemen, David Beckham.


While being here at Wimbledon it’s even more appropriate that we welcome some guests from the world of tennis...

First a former Fed Cup captain who has been a driving force in developing the game at both grassroots and national level – and she’s also the mother of two Grand Slam champions: Judy Murray.

Now to two all-time greats of the women’s game, who between them have an astonishing 30 Wimbledon titles in singles and doubles...

This very day 50 years ago, this legend won her first Grand Slam singles title here, and then she went on to change the game both on and off the court: Billie Jean King.

Also here today is an Australian, who over the course of the 1960s and 70s, won 24 Grand Slam singles titles, an incredible record that still stands: Margaret Court.

And finally to three legends of the game who know what it’s like to lift a trophy on this famous court...

An Australian whose win at Wimbledon in 1958 was one of three Grand Slam titles he won that year: Ashley Cooper.

A Spaniard who 50 years ago wowed Centre Court with his magic touch to become the first player from his country to win Wimbledon: Manuel Santana.

It’s 35 years now since he won his first Wimbledon title, and he’s been calling the shots on and off the court ever since: the one and only John McEnroe.


The All England Club has a long and proud association with the armed forces, and we’re honoured today to be joined by one of the very few female pilots who served in the Second World War – among the aircraft she flew were Spitfires and Hurricanes.

Centre Court, please show your appreciation for Joy Lofthouse.

Since the end of the World War Two, the armed forces have provided volunteer stewards at The Championships. Many of the military here today have recently served their country on operational duty all over the world, showing their professionalism and dedication in the most demanding of circumstances.

This is also the London Fire Brigade’s 150th anniversary, and for more than 50 years they have been providing stewards to Wimbledon. We thank them for their support in keeping the Championships, and London, safe.

We’re honoured to have all of them with us today.


And finally, please welcome on to court a team that re-wrote sporting history at the end of last year. Led by their captain Leon Smith, it’s Great Britain’s victorious Davis Cup team: Kyle Edmund, James Ward, Dan Evans and Jamie Murray.

Please show your appreciation for Great Britain’s Davis Cup winning team, and for all of our special Royal Box guests, and to everybody here on Centre Court. Have a great day.