'It's difficult': Dickie Bird on challenges of lockdown as he marks 88th birthday

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Yorkshire's legendary cricketing umpire, Dickie Bird, says the past year has been ''difficult'' as he marks his 88th birthday.

He has been shielding for over a year but he has a clear regime for dealing with it's challenges - light exercising and walking.

Getting exercise is a message he is keen to get across to elderly people, to help keep the mind and body healthy.

''It's been very hard and difficult. I went through the second World and that was very very difficult, but this, I think, is a lot harder.''

''I've kept my brain health by doing my exercises in my garden, general exercises, and I've been walking round and round. That's kept me going because there have been times when I thought I was going bonkers!''

Credit: PA

Born in Barnsley, he umpired many historical matches at Lord's including three Cricket World Cup finals.

He played cricket for Yorkshire and Leicestershire, and has batted alongside Sir Geoffrey Boycott and Sir Michael Parkinson at Barnsley Cricket Club.

While career was blighted by a knee injury which eventually caused him to retire aged 31, he is looking forward to life post-lockdown and returning to sporting events.

''I'm a season ticket holder at Barnsley Football Club and I certainly miss that. I've missed that as well and we're playing so well this season. So I miss my football and I miss my cricket.''

On Monday he turned 88 on Monday and celebrated his birthday with his first haircut in more than four months- a small luxury after a year of on and off restrictions.