ENGLAND'S cricket hero paid tribute to his agent Neil Fairbrother after winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year prizes on Sunday.

The all rounder called Fairbrother, from Grappenhall, 'an incredible' man during his victory speech.

Stokes' sizzling summer performances in the World Cup final and the third Ashes Test helped him seal the public vote for the prestigious award, ahead of six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and world 200 metres champion Dina Asher-Smith at Sunday's ceremony in Aberdeen.

The 28-year-old held his nerve as England triumphed in a Super Over to win the Cricket World Cup in July, and just over a month later his glorious unbeaten 135 at Headingley won the third Ashes Test for England.

Stokes' story is one of redemption. In 2018 he was cleared of affray charges following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September of the previous year, and on Sunday night he acknowledged the help he had received from those close to him in overcoming that low point.

And he reserved special praise for Fairbrother, a former Lymm High School pupil who used to play for Grappenhall before finding fame with Lancashire and England.

Warrington Guardian:

Ben Stokes

"Two years ago was a tough time for me in my life. I've had so many people help me through that," he said as he accepted the award on stage.

"My fantastic manager and friend Neil Fairbrother is here tonight. You are more than an agent as you get called these days. You're an incredible human being and an incredible man.

"I literally don't know how you've put up with Andrew Flintoff to start with and then me!"

Warrington Guardian: 18 Jan 1993:  Neil Fairbrother in action for England during the 1st One Day International against India at Jaipur.

Neil Fairbrother

Also on the six-person shortlist were Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Raheem Sterling and Alun Wyn Jones.

Stokes and his fellow World Cup winners were named Team of the Year while the moment the trophy was secured claimed the Greatest Sporting Moment of the Year award.

The England star paid tribute to his team-mates as he added: "What you have managed to achieve as individuals and what you have managed to do for your sport is seriously sensational.

"Obviously it's an individual award but I play in a team sport and the best thing about that is you get to share special moments with team-mates, backroom staff and management who make days like we had in the summer possible.

"I'm up here receiving this award but without the efforts you put in this summer, I wouldn't up here be doing that. So thank you so much."

Warrington Guardian:

Media speak to Stokes after the ceremony