Birdie in Twitter salute to John McCririck
PUBLISHED: 17:40 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:43 05 July 2019
Racing pundit John McCririck, who died today aged 79, has been immortalised by Ipswich cartoonist Darren 'Birdie' Bird.
The flamboyant broadcaster was renowned for his outlandish dress sense and presenting style at major meetings across the country for ITV and Channel 4.
Following the announcement of his death today Birdie wasted no time in paying tribute with a cartoon he posted on Twitter.
He said: "I met him at several racing occasions and events over the years.
"I grew up watching him on C4 racing and it was through him that I learned about tic-tac and betting terminology so it was great to have the opportunity to meet him in person.
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"The first time we met was sitting on a balcony at Ascot. He was enveloped in smoke from his giant cigar, with Jenny (the Boobie) by his side, as always.
"It's a cliché to say he was a larger then life character, but in John's case it was absolutely true and it was always great to bump into him at various racing events.
"The last time I saw him was early last year - we've lost a real legend of racing.
"He wasn't everyone's cup of tea but he was harmless and did so much to promote the sport he loved."
Birdie's drawings of jockeys and trainers are seen by his 14,000 followers on Twitter, as well as national and international television audiences.
His fans include leading trainers such as Mick Fitzgerald and Tony McCoy, while the Queen also has one of his works.
Birdie can be found on Twitter with the username @DarrenBirdie. More examples of his work can be found on his website.