Niall Quinn to receive honorary MBE

Former Irish international soccer striker Niall Quinn is to receive an honorary MBE.

The award is being made by the Queen in recognition of Quinn’s “outstanding services to international football and his contributions to United Kingdom charities”.

The British Ambassador to Ireland, Stewart Eldon, will present the award in Dublin on Wednesday.

An embassy spokesperson said today: “Niall Quinn’s initiative of donating the proceeds from his testimonial match between Sunderland and the Republic of Ireland last year to children’s charities led to his idea being adopted by a number of other players.”

In a comment on the player’s gesture, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “It is absolutely typical of the individual.

“In circumstances where people in sport often get a lot of bad publicity, this is an example we can hold up to everybody.”

Quinn’s honour will make him a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Honorary awards are presented on merit to non-British citizens by the Queen on the advice of the Foreign Office to people reckoned to have made an important contribution to British interests.

Last month Irish-born film star Pierce Brosnan – the current James Bond - received an OBE from the British envoy at a similar ceremony in Dublin.

And last year Irish crooner Daniel O’Donnell was also handed a British honour.

Niall Quinn started his career at Arsenal in 1983, spending seven years at Highbury before moving to Manchester City in 1990.

The striker’s last appearance for his final club, Sunderland, was on October 19, 2002.

He received 91 caps for the Republic of Ireland and won widespread acclaim when he donated the proceeds from his benefit match to charity last season.

He is patron of The Glass Slipper Appeal which raises money for hospitals in the Sunderland area in an effort to help their fight against breast cancer.

He also has a close association with Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, Dublin.

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