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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Freddie Flintoff avoids driving ban at Carlisle court

Cricket legend Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff has narrowly avoided being banned from driving after being caught speeding on the M6 in Cumbria.

Freddie Flintoff photo
Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff

The former England all-rounder, 36, was allowed to keep his licence despite notching up 12 penalty points for speeding in the past three years.

The total would usually see him banned from driving but he and his lawyer argued before magistrates in Carlisle that such a move would adversely affect his family and charity work, including that of the Andrew Flintoff Foundation.

Flintoff, who appeared in court, was caught on camera travelling at 87mph on the M6 northbound at Linstock – a charge he admitted.

His solicitor Michael Neofyton told magistrates how hospitals would suffer hardship if his client were unable to drive and carry out his charity work.

In a 45-minute hearing, he also referred to Flintoff as a “modest man” who gave his time to charitable work without recognition.

“He’s constantly raising money or trying to when not in his professional role. If he had to take a taxi or stay in hotels the cost inevitably would be passed to the charity,” he said.

Flintoff told magistrates about the impact of a driving ban on his charity work.

He said: “We started the Andrew Flintoff Foundation to improve the lives of children coming from back illness or some kind of injury. Currently we are trying to raise £40,000 more to donate to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

“We employed someone a while ago but felt that came at a cost to the charity so my wife, bless her, has taken it on.”

Magistrates were also told how a ban would mean the A League Of Their Own TV show star, who still plays cricket for Lancashire’s T20 team, would be able to spend less private time with his three children as he could not drive them to school.

“The most important part of the day is the private time with his children,” added Mr Neofyton.

“The school is several miles away from the home address. It will impact heavily on his children.”

Mr Neofyton added that Flintoff was in the middle of filming a new television series where he drives a chip fat-powered fish and chip van around the country, with the proceeds going to charity. Flintoff was due in Northern Ireland tomorrow to continue filming.

Passing sentence, chairman of the bench David Johnson said: “Because of your position and the fact that you are well known, the impact has to be on others more than yourself.

“There’s the impact on your children and their privacy if they were driven to school and activities by drivers or taxi, there would be a potential question mark over their privacy.

“Also there’s the adverse impact on your charitable events if they were to be cancelled.”

Flintoff, of Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire, was fined £330 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 plus £85 in costs.

He was warned after arguing exceptional hardship that he would not be able to use the same reasons in court if he was caught speeding again in the next three years.

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