It was Ladies’ Day at the Betfred World Championship in Sheffield on Tuesday, with a number of exhibitions from top players to showcase the women’s game.

And there were distinguished guests in the media centre, with 11-time world champion Reanne Evans, and trailblazing pioneer and the first ever winner Vera Selby dropping in.

Selby, from Gosforth, was this year awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List, collecting that honour at Buckingham Palace from Prince Charles.

The spritely 86-year-old won the world championship in 1976, and then again in 1981, and was also a multiple British billiards champion as well as a referee.

Selby, who still plays for exercise and joked (probably not for the first time) that she was “no relation to Mark”, also did an interview with Rob Walker for sponsors Betfred.

She said: “Even as you get older when you’re walking round the table for two or three hours, bending and stretching, that’s very good for you physically. I love that - it’s good exercise.

“In the old days, I thought, ‘God, am I going to succumb to cancer?’, because you were playing in thick smoke-filled rooms, and refereeing for hours on end.

“It was really horrific, whereas at least the air is clear now, even if you’re not actually getting fresh air.

“Getting my MBE at Buckingham Palace was lovely. Prince Charles gave it to me, and told me that I did not look much like a snooker player, because obviously we were all dressed up.

“I told him that we were not all big butch male players, and that made him laugh.”

Dudley’s Evans, of course, has recently regained her world title from Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds with a 6-4 win in the final, making it an 11th title in 12 years after 10 in a row.