New Years’ Honours list recognises more pandemic heroes

The second honours list of the year has been released, ahead of the beginning of 2021. Unsung heroes have been championed, alongside some famous faces for contributions in their field.

You can read more about the honours system and the rankings of different awards here.

The New Year Year Honours List has recognised 1,239 people for their contributions to society; it is the most ethnically diverse honours list yet, with 14.2% of recipients coming from a BAME background.

Public sector workers make up nearly 15% of the list and include firefighters, medical professionals, teachers, police officers and local government workers – all of whom are being recognised for making a huge individual impact, and in particular in the response to COVID-19, the government press release states.

Architect David Chipperfield is awarded a Companion of Honour, for services to architecture. His major works include the River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames; the Neues Museum, Berlin; and the Hepworth gallery in Wakefield.

This is the highest award of the group, limited to just 65 members, and is given for nationally important service.

Actress Sheila Hancock has been made a dame. She joked: “I’ve never felt myself this sort of person. It just doesn’t happen to people like me. I feel I may be lowering the tone. I feel slightly miscast, let’s put it that way.”

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Make-up artist Pat McGrath, called the ‘most influential make-up artist in the world’ by Vogue – also becomes a dame, for services to the fashion and beauty industry and to diversity.

Damehoods are given for ‘a pre-eminent contribution in any field of activity’. The group is limited to 845 members, and can use DBE after their name.

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Lewis Hamilton, who received an MBE in 2008, is made a knight for his contribution to the sport of F1 racing; he is joined by Roger Deakins, a twice Oscar winning cinematographer. A knighthood is awarded for public service.

Structural biologist Professor David Stuart was given a knighthood, after his career studying the nature of viruses. He told PA news agency: “I am deeply honoured by this recognition.

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“I am grateful to all those around me, especially in Oxford University and (science facility)Diamond Light Source, who have worked together tirelessly to understand, in particular, our antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2.”

Academy Award-nominee Lesley Manville is made a CBE for services to drama and charity; she is due to play Princess Margaret in future series of the Crown, alongside Imelda Staunton as The Queen.

Jockey Bob Champion has been made a CBE for his charitable services to prostate and testicular cancer research.

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Professor Wendy Bickmore head the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Human Genetics Unit was honoured with a CBE, too, for her work identifying genes that put some people at greater risk of developing the most serious symptoms of Covid-19.

Tell me about the British honours system – what’s an MBE anyway?

Another female professor, Professor Wendy Burn, who is former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, was made a CBE for predicting the mental health impact of the pandemic on health workers and the public.

Ocado chief executive Mel Smith was made a CBE for services to the food supply chain during the pandemic after the brand dramatically boosted capacity. 9% of recipients on the list are being recognised for services to business and the economy.

Professor Michael David Wood, a historian and broadcaster, gets an OBE, with Tracey Lynne Reed, who is director of historic properties at English Heritage, and cellist Natalie Clein. Actress Nadia Wadia joins this club her services to drama and charity, as well as Jed Mercurio, creator of Line Of Duty and Bodyguard, and actor Toby Jones.

From the civilian ranks, Phillippa Spencer, who is senior principal statistician at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, was made an OBE for services to defence during the pandemic, while Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry body UKHospitality, is granted the honour for defending for the hospitality industry which has struggled throughout 2020.

Donna Fraser, the Equality, Diversity and Engagement Lead at UK Athletics, has been awarded a an OBE for services to Equality, to Inclusion and to Diversity in the Workplace.

MBEs have been given to Sally Dynevor, Coronation Street veteran, singer Craig David.

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Special Chief Officer Mark Owen, who returned from retirement to lead the Special Constabulary’s response in North Wales, also gets an MBE, along with Karen McDowell for services to the LGBTQ community and fire service in Northern Ireland.

Deputy Director of Nursing Jacky Copping, 55 from Suffolk, also receives an MBE, for initiating Face Fit Testing at the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which saw that frontline workers were properly protected against Covid-19 at work.

104-year-old Ruth Saunders, who walked a marathon to raise money for Thames Valley Air Ambulance, joins the group.

A lesser-awarded medal – the British Empire Medal – was given to Nadeem Khan, a housing adviser with charity Shelter, for his work helping people with their own housing issues – whilst stranded in Lahore.

Flights home were cancelled at the start of the pandemic, but he set up a makeshift office on the roof of a building using a borrowed dongle and laptop. He said of the news: “I feel really humbled to have played a frontline role helping people keep safe during what has been a really difficult year and when having access to a safe home has never been more important.

“I feel really honoured for the work not only that I do but that Shelter has been providing to people facing homelessness.”

The Queen’s birthday honours list was delayed from June until October, and highlighted the extraordinary contributions of many people within their communities thanks to the pandemic.

Restrictions permitting, these people will head to Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle in 2021 to receive their awards from The Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William or Princess Anne.

Read the full list here.

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