Alan Bates knighted, as Staunton and Emin made dames among Birthday Honours

Bates knighted as Staunton and Emin made dames

38 minutes agoBy John Hand and Ben Fell, BBC NewsGetty ImagesDame Imelda Staunton, Sir Alan Bates and Dame Tracey Emin can start using their new titles immediately

Alan Bates – the former sub-postmaster who successfully campaigned to highlight the Post Office Horizon scandal – has been knighted in the King’s Birthday Honours.

He joins three new dames – actress Imelda Staunton, designer Anya Hindmarch and artist Tracey Emin – at the top of a list that highlights British achievers in a range of fields, as well as hundreds of people from ordinary walks of life.

Sporting honours in this year’s list include a knighthood for cycling star Mark Cavendish, as well as honours for former international footballers Graeme Souness, Ally McCoist and Karen Carney.

In the entertainment world, there is a Strictly Come Dancing double as professional dancer Amy Dowden and former EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis, winner of the 2021 series, are both named MBEs. There are also honours for author Monica Ali and singer Rebecca Ferguson.

Strictly professional dancer Amy Dowden and 2021 celebrity winner Rose Ayling-Ellis make this year’s list

The new Sir Alan Bates famously took action after more than 900 Post Office colleagues were prosecuted for stealing because of incorrect accounting information from a computer system he had repeatedly complained about.

He founded a campaign to overturn the convictions and his fight for justice became the subject of ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office.

Sir Alan told BBC News he was at the inquiry into the affair when he found out about the honour.

Post Office: ‘This is weird’ – Alan Bates on receiving a knighthood

Imelda Staunton may be in a position to provide some pointers on royal etiquette of her own when she attends her investiture ceremony, having portrayed the late Queen Elizabeth II in two series of Netflix drama The Crown.

Her other famous roles in an acting career spanning six decades include Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films and the title role in the movie Vera Drake, for which she won a Bafta and was Oscar-nominated.

Dame Imelda said of her new honour: “Theatre, film and television are essential to our well-being, stand at the heart of our culture, and are admired throughout the world. I am proud to play my part in this important industry.”

Dame Anya Hindmarch is known across the world for her handbag designs, high-end adornments that are seen on the arms of the world’s most glamorous women. But she also developed her “I’m not a plastic bag” range of canvas tote bags to highlight the need to cut the use of plastic.

Getty ImagesAnya Hindmarch initially started her business from her kitchen table and is now a dame

Tracey Emin, now Dame Tracey, has become one of the best-known female artists in the world through a wide range of artworks that often document her personal experiences.

They include My Bed – a dishevelled bed inspired by four days she stayed in bed drinking vodka – which was exhibited at London’s Tate Gallery and later sold at Christie’s auctioneers for £2.5m.

As well as Sir Alan, there are knighthoods for historian Niall Ferguson, the Royal Ballet’s resident choreographer Wayne McGregor, climate scientist Prof James Skea and composer John Rutter, who is behind some of the most celebrated modern Christmas carols.

And from the world of politics, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is made a Companion of Honour, an honour afforded to just 65 people at any one time.

Getty ImagesMark Cavendish has joined Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins as a knight on two wheels

Leading the way in the sporting honours is Mark Cavendish, the cyclist from the Isle of Man who became known as the Manx Missile and is now Sir Mark. Later this month he will try to make cycling history at the Tour De France, where a 35th stage win of his career would see him set a new record for the event.

For years, Graeme Souness was renowned as one of the hardmen of football, but his CBE in the Birthday Honours is partly in recognition of a more recent accomplishment. He was introduced to teenager Isla Grist, a girl from Inverness who has epidermolysis bullosa (EB) – a genetic disorder which means most of the skin covering her body is full of blisters.

Souness revealed in interviews he had regularly been left in tears by her battling attitude to life and set about raising awareness and funds for the condition, including swimming the English Channel at the age of 70.

PA MediaIsla Grist’s painful condition moved former footballer Graeme Souness to raise millions to treat people with her skin disorder, commonly known as butterfly skin

Another former Scottish international, Ally McCoist, is now an OBE – partly for a playing career, mainly spent at Rangers, and partly for his broadcasting career, which included an 11-year stint as a team captain on BBC One’s A Question Of Sport.

Karen Carney, the footballer who earned 144 caps for England’s women, also becomes an OBE, alongside Sandy Lyle, the first British golfer to win the Masters.

Yorkshire and England cricketer Katherine Sciver-Brunt and rugby union referee Wayne Barnes, who officiated the most recent World Cup final, are among other new OBEs.

Cheryl Foster, who went from Welsh international footballer to referee is a new MBE, a rank she now shares with David McNulty, British swimming’s national lead coach, who has guided the success of several recent Olympic medallists.

But one of the new MBEs is a woman whose biggest feat came just this year. Ultramarathon runner Jasmin Paris became the first woman to complete the gruelling Barkley Marathons in Tennessee, memorably slumping to the ground exhausted as she finished the race just inside the allotted 60 hours.

Barkley Marathons runner Jasmin Paris describes moment she crosses finish line

In the music world, Simon Le Bon, who has been the frontman of Duran Duran since 1980, is appointed an MBE, while the voice behind two of the biggest number ones of the 1970s – Boney M singer Liz Mitchell – is awarded the same honour.

Rebecca Ferguson – who went from a runner-up on X-Factor to a singing career with four top 10 albums – is also named an MBE, as is M-People singer Heather Small, for her voluntary and charitable work.

Two broadcasting pioneers are among those honoured in the TV and radio world.

Gordon McNamee, the founder of Kiss FM who took it from pirate radio station to a major player on the airwaves, is now an MBE. So too is veteran TV broadcaster Nick Owen, whose amiable presenting style on ITV’s Good Morning Britain helped establish the format of breakfast TV in the 1980s. Since 1997, he has been one of the lead presenters of BBC Midlands Today.

Getty ImagesNews of their MBEs will be music to the ears of Rebecca Ferguson and Liz Mitchell

There is a heart-warming double honour linked to Strictly Come Dancing. Professional dancer Amy Dowden, who has been treated for cancer and will return to the series this year, is an MBE. That honour is matched by Rose Ayling-Ellis, the EastEnders actress who became the show’s first deaf contestant and went on to win the famous glitterball trophy in 2021.

Former Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati, who played Sunita Alahan across two spells between 2001 and 2014, among other roles, is also appointed an MBE. Satirist Armando Iannuci, whose TV and radio career stretches back 30 years, is made a CBE. Most of his greatest successes have come behind the scenes as a writer and producer, but one of his most lasting contributions to British culture is as co-creator of the character Alan Partridge with comedian Steve Coogan.

Getty ImagesFrom dinner lady to shopkeeper to MBE – former Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati is now an MBE

The honours system

Commonly-awarded ranks

Companion of Honour – Limited to 65 people. Recipients wear the initials CH after their nameKnight or DameCBE – Commander of the Order of the British EmpireOBE – Officer of the Order of the British EmpireMBE – Member of the Order of the British EmpireBEM – British Empire Medal

Guide to the honours

Business leaders to be honoured include energy bosses Greg Jackson of Octopus Energy and Alistair Phillips-Davies of SSE, who are appointed CBEs, as well as Julia Hoggett, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, who becomes a Dame.

Two BBC figures are made CBEs – Barbara Slater. the former Olympic gymnast who retired this year after 15 years as the corporation’s first director of sport, and Alan Yentob, who played a major role in shaping BBC television as an executive, before becoming a presenter of his own programmes.

And two women who have a way with words can add some letters to their names. Author Monica Ali,Susie Dent, the author and lexicographer who has been a “dictionary corner” staple of Channel 4’s Countdown for 32 years, outlasting any of the presenters, is awarded an MBE.

Getty ImagesWomen of words: Author Monica Ali and Countdown’s Susie Dent are both honoured as MBEs

Of course, the honours are not only there to celebrate the rich and famous. As always, ordinary members of society have been recognised for their extraordinary commitments.

Almost two thirds of this year’s recipients are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities.

Of the 1,077 recipients on the main list, announced by the Cabinet Office, 48% are women and 10% are from an ethnic minority background.

The youngest recipient on the list is Shamza Butt from Bradford, who is 20 years old and receives a BEM for her work as a Member of the National Citizens’ Service Trust Youth Voice Forum.

At the other end of the spectrum is 100-year-old Harold Jones from Sutton Coldfield, who also receives a BEM for his fundraising for charities relating to Motor Neurone Disease and the local community.

And Michael Palmer, Andrew Airey and Timothy Owen, who founded the 3 Dads Walking campaign after losing their young daughters to suicide, each receive an MBE. The three fathers have walked all across the UK to raise awareness of suicide in young people as well as funds for charity.


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