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05th Oct 2023

Freddie Flintoff speaks publicly for first time since Top Gear crash

Steve Hopkins

‘What an incredible speech’

Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is being praised for speaking publicly for the first time since his Top Gear crash that left him with a broken rib and facial injuries.

Flintoff has been absent from public life since the crash at Dunsfold Park aerodrome in Surrey on 13 December 2022. The 45-year-old was driving an open-topped three-wheel Morgan Super 3 at 130mph when it flipped and slid along the track during filming. Because he wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time his face scrapped across the ground. The crash led to the BBC cancelling the rest of the Top Gear series.

On Wednesday, Flintoff was filmed awarding an England cap to spin bowler Tom Hartley, and in a clip released by the England and Wales Cricket Board on social media, he opens up about going through “the hardest” time of his life.

While the athlete, who is married to model and entrepreneur Rachael Wools, has been keeping away from the spotlight since the crash, he made a special effort to join the England Cricket team to help mentor them.

The TV star, who retired from cricket in 2009 after playing 79 tests, 141 one-day internationals and seven T20s for England, told Hartley that today would be a day he would “remember for the rest of your life”.

“Your journey hasn’t been like a lot of people’s,” he told the bowler.

“There were no academies, no systems but to me (that) suggests a steeliness, a determination, a passion – which might not be evident on the outside – but it’s definitely burning inside.

“When you get this cap, this changes your life. It’s one of those things – it’s before and after it.

“This enables you to walk tall and move faster.”

Flintoff continued: “Play with passion, play with pride, play with belief. And also (be) part of a family of people.

“They’ll share the good times with you, the successes. But as I found over the past few months, they’ll be there in the hardest times of your life, they will stand next to you.

“So like the lion on the cap Tom, be brave, be fearless, be proud and enjoy every minute. It gives me great pleasure to present cap number 272 to Tom Hartley.”

As the watching players and coaches applauded, Flintoff handed Hartley the cap and shook his hand.

The footage was filmed before Hartley’s international debut in a one-day international (ODI) against Ireland at Trent Bridge in Nottingham last month.

Flintoff’s speech was praised as “incredible” and “amazing” online.

His Top Gear co-host, Paddy McGuiness on Wednesday shared a throw-back picture in the pool with Flintoff during a break from filming on the show.

The ITV Take Me Out star wrote on Instagram: “Lovely little throwback with the cuddly toys in Peru.#TopGear “

Related links:

Freddie Flintoff’s injuries after horror crash have been confirmed

Freddie Flintoff spotted for first time since horror Top Gear crash

Ex-Top Gear host says Freddie Flintoff ‘decided life was more important’ than TV show after crash

James May hints Top Gear will end without Jeremy Clarkson