Queen’s honour for wicket-keeper with his hands on £15 billion defence budget

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A well-known former Nelson cricketer and accountant, who is now the safe hands behind a vital part of the country’s defence budget, has been honoured by the Queen.

Michael Bradley, the former wicket-keeper captain of Nelson Cricket Club, has been made a Commander of the Order of the Bath in recognition of his services to the Ministry of Defence, a role he has held for the last five years.

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The Colne man, who grew up in Brierfield and attended Edge End High School, is the chief financial officer for the part of the MoD that buys all of the armed forces’ hardware including aircraft carriers, fighter jets and nuclear submarines.

Better known around East Lancashire as the man who holds the Lancashire League record for the most catches and stumpings, Michael now has to keep his eye on a staggering £15 billion a year budget.

Michael (53) said: “It came as a complete bolt out of the blue when I received a letter informing me of the honour.

“The letter actually arrived in late November, the week after the death of my mother Dorothy, so it was a bittersweet moment.

It’s a very exciting job, but also a massive responsibility.

Michael Bradley

“I’m very proud to receive this recognition and I had no idea it was in the pipeline.”

Michael, who is married to former St Leonard’s Primary School, Padiham, headteacher Julie Bradley, explained how his job has taken him to some of the world’s most dangerous troublespots, including Camp Bastion and Kabul in Afghanistan.

He added: “For the 25 years before joining the MoD I actually worked in the private sector so my current job is a world away from what I’ve been used to.

“I formerly worked for companies that dug holes and built trains, now I’m getting to fly in Apache helicopters and visit nuclear submarines.

“It’s a very exciting job, but also a massive responsibility, knowing I’m working on some of the biggest projects in the UK. It’s a privilege.”

Michael, who has three sons Lewis, Russell and Elliott, splits his working week between Bristol and Whitehall in London where he regularly meets ministers.

He will receive confirmation in the spring about where he will receive his honour, either at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.

He said: “I’m an accountant by trade, but obviously not your average accountant. I have a fascinating job and I’m very lucky.

“I understand there will be three tickets to attend the investiture so I may have to hold a raffle with my children.”