Howzat for an achievement

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A giant flag celebrating Burnley cricketer James Anderson becoming England’s leading Test wicket-taker has bowled over fans in his home town.

The commemorative flag, created by Jimmy’s sponsors Slazenger, ended a nationwide tour at his old primary school, St Mary’s RC in Holcombe Drive, where current pupils signed their congratulations alongside messages from well-known figures in the world of sport and entertainment.

Pupils at St Mary's RC Primary School, Burnley, pose with the commemorative James Anderson flag (S)

Pupils at St Mary's RC Primary School, Burnley, pose with the commemorative James Anderson flag (S)

Former England cricketers Mike Gatting and Darren Gough, boxer Carl Froch, former rugby player Lawrence Dallaglio and Harry Potter actors James and Oliver Phelps have all signed the flag.

The Burnley-born fast bowler, nicknamed the Burnley Express, recently beat Sir Ian Botham’s record haul when he claimed the wicket of Denesh Ramdin during England’s tour of the West Indies, his 384th test wicket.

The flag was welcomed to St Mary’s by a former classmate of Jimmy’s, Louise Mullen, who now works at the school as a teacher.

She said: “Jimmy was always very sporty at school but I think he really blossomed at cricket when he attended St Theodore’s High School.

Jimmy is a great inspiration for our pupils. He is a superb role model and I know a lot of our children are in awe of him.

St Mary’s headteacher Ian Jones

“He was a quiet lad who was well-liked. It is amazing to see what he has gone on to achieve.”

Headteacher Mr Ian Jones said: “Jimmy is a great inspiration for our pupils. He is a superb role model and I know a lot of our children are in awe of him. I hope he inspires them to great things themselves.”

The flag was later unveiled in St James’s Street, Towneley Park and Burnley Cricket Club to allow members of the public to sign their congratulations.

Dave Newbury, Slazenger’s head of Brand Marketing, said: “We’re delighted for Jimmy who has been a fantastic ambassador for the Slazenger brand during our long association.

“The flag tour is our way of celebrating his achievements and allowing the public to send their congratulations to one of England’s all-time sporting greats.”