In The Queen’s New Year’s Honours list, a number of well-known names have been recognised across a variety of fields.
Heading the list of 1,196 people are some big names in film and TV, including Eastenders veteran Barbara Windsor, who receives a Damehood, and Idris Elba, of ‘The Wire’ fame, is now an OBE.
Ms Windsor, 78, also known for her roles in the ‘Carry On’ films, receives her honour for services to charity and entertainment. Dame Barbara, as the actress will now be known, described herself as “proud and extremely humbled”.
“For a girl from the East End born into a working-class family and an evacuee during World War Two, this is truly like a dream,” she said.
Britain’s honours are bestowed twice a year by The Queen, on recommendation from the government, at New Year and in June, for Her Majesty’s official birthday. Recipients are selected by committees of civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public.
Other actors and those involved in film or TV production include Sian Williams, 82, who gets a Damehood, Imelda Staunton was recognised with a CBE, and David Oyelowo and James Nesbitt both receive an OBE for their services to drama.
The Queen awards one of her Royal couturiers, Stewart Parvin, an MVO (Member of the Royal Victorian Order) for his work to Her Majesty; the Royal Victorian Order is a personal gift from the Monarch for personal service.
In the sports field, jockey AP McCoy will officially receive his Knighthood later in the year, to become Sir Tony McCoy. He has won champion races 20 times and won the lifetime achievement award at this month’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Chris Froome, two-time winner of the Tour de France gets an OBE, alongside snooker ace Ronnie O’Sullivan, rugby player Mark Cueto, and Sue Barker, a familiar face on BBC sports programmes, and former tennis star.
Unsung heroes also were recognised, especially those who helped in the Ebola crisis, as well as tragedies closer to home. Thanked with an honour in the New Year list include Dr Michael Jacobs, who treated three British patients, receives a Knighthood, and the man who ran a lab in Sierra Leone,Dr Timothy Brooks, is awarded a CBE. A Red Cross manager who led the rescue effort in the Shoreham air disaster, Richard Tyler, gets the British Empire Medal for his efforts.
Ten Holocaust surviviors have been honoured too, including Freddie Knoller, who spent two years at Auschwitz. He is now 94 and continues to educate children on the genocide.
Injured Falklands war veteran Simon Weston gets a CBE for his charity work: he founded a charity to help others suffering grave disfigurement cope with the massive changes to their lives.
“When I was injured, I feared that I would never be relevant again — not just in a military sense but also as a human being. Maybe it was my bullishness or my military background, but I was not going to let that happen,” he said. “The charity Changing Faces recently published figures saying that 70% of people with a disfigurement don’t go outside. I hope that with me being in the public eye it can inspire others — that you can live your life and can enjoy it despite what has happened.”
The 1,000 people who have been acknowledged will receive their ‘gong’, as the award insignia are known, at an investiture ceremony later this year. These will take place mostly at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.