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Warrington's Andy Bird talks about success as chairman of Walt Disney International in LA
5:45pm Wednesday 1st August 2012 in News
MEET the man from Warrington who can call himself a friend to Mickey, Minnie and Donald Duck.
Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International, has worked his way to the top of the Magic Kingdom and was rewarded for his efforts with a CBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list last month.
But despite living in sunny California, the dad-of-two admitted he can’t wait to return home to see his family in Stockton Heath, Lymm and Thelwall when he receives the honour and head for a drink at the Parr Arms in Grappenhall.
The 48-year-old, who has helped ‘expand Disney’s presence around the world’, said: “I found out four weeks before it was announced but I couldn’t tell anyone.
“I told my wife Caroline and then I had to tell my mum Maureen the day before she would see it in the papers. Rather like me she couldn’t comprehend what she had been told at first.
“The most poignant part was my father (Alan, who has Alzheimer’s and is living in a Stockton Heath care home) doesn’t understand and he would have been so proud that all his hard work had been rewarded. When I get the medal I will take it up to show him.”
Born in Warrington Hospital, Andy originally lived with his parents above a shop in Irlam before they moved to Denbury Avenue, Stockton Heath.
He enjoyed a celebratory dinner when he returned home last month at the Little Manor, Thelwall and said there was ‘nothing better than going home and sitting in a pub with a pint of beer’.
His career started answering phones for Wacaday presenter Timmy Mallett at Piccadily Radio in Manchester before he moved down to London to work with him on TV-am.
Fellow Warrington-born presenter Chris Evans took over Andy’s role in Manchester before they became friends and worked together on the breakfast show. Andy added: “I saw Chris at Christmas and we text each other occasionally.
“It was a fantastic period of time to be alive in the north west but the biggest highlight of my career was joining Disney. I remember walking into the studio lot in Los Angeles and looking up and pinching myself.
“It’s a dream come true.”