New Year honours list rewards terror attack responders

London and Manchester emergency workers recognised along with Twiggy, Margaret Atwood and Michael Palin

Dozens of emergency service workers have been recognised in a New Year honours list that highlights the extraordinary response to major terrorist incidents in London and Manchester.

Celebrities including the 1960s model Twiggy, who becomes a dame, and the comedian and TV presenter Michael Palin, who is knighted, are also garlanded in the 2019 list alongside the literary giants Margaret Atwood and Philip Pullman.

The Brexiter MP John Redwood and his Tory remain-voting colleague Gary Streeter are both knighted, along with Labour’s deputy chief whip, Alan Campbell. The honour for Redwood prompted accusations that Theresa May is using the honours system to try to smooth the way for her Brexit deal.

Twiggy pictured in Vogue in 1967.
Twiggy pictured in Vogue in 1967. Photograph: Bert Stern/Getty Images

Organisers said a particular focus was the emergency response to the 2017 terror attacks, with a total of 43 awards. They include an OBE for Dr Malik Ramadhan, the head of A&E at the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, who operated through the night on 12 victims of the London Bridge attack. Receiving the same honour are Paul Woodrow, operations director at London Ambulance Service, who organised care for victims, and Joy Ongcachuy, a theatre nurse at St Bartholomew’s hospital, London.

Colin Kelsey, who led the NHS response to the Manchester Arena suicide bombing, and Peter Boorman, from NHS England, who helped deal with the fallout from the Westminster and London Bridge attacks and Grenfell Tower fire, both receive an OBE. A British Empire Medal has been given to Theresa Lam, family liaison lead for Greater Manchester police.

There are no awards relating to the community effort following the Grenfell fire in accordance with the wishes of the emergency authorities and local residents, who felt it appropriate to wait until the conclusion of the major public inquiry into the tragedy.

Sports stars who were recognised include the former England cricket captain Alastair Cook and the former England rugby union captain Bill Beaumont who both received a knighthood. England’s football manager, Gareth Southgate, and Geraint Thomas, winner of the Tour de France, received OBEs. Harry Kane, the England footballer who won the golden boot as the World Cup’s top scorer, was given an MBE.

Reacting to her damehood, Twiggy – real name Lesley Lawson – said: “It’s wonderful, but it makes me giggle … The hardest thing has been keeping it a secret.”

Palin, who is knighted in the diplomatic service and overseas list for services to travel, culture and geography, said the news had not yet sunk in. He added: “I have been a knight before in Python films. I have been several knights including Sir Galahad and the knight who said ‘ni’.” He said was planning a quiet celebration with a glass of Horlicks.

Philip Pullman.
Philip Pullman. Photograph: Michael Leckie/PA

There is also a knighthood for Richard Alston, a pioneer and leading figure in contemporary dance.

From the literary world, Atwood, the Canadian author of the dystopian The Handmaid’s Tale, becomes a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in the diplomatic and overseas list in recognition of her status as “a huge figure in the literary world” and her “lifelong contribution to the English language”.

Pullman, whose His Dark Materials trilogy was a global bestseller, becomes a knight. The campaigner for writers’ rights said he was “very surprised and honoured”, adding: “I’m most grateful of all to those who continue to read my books, and I hope they don’t have to work as hard as those who edit them.”

The children’s author Julia Donaldson, best known for The Gruffalo, is made a CBE. She said she wanted to “highlight how the access of children throughout our country to reading and libraries is endangered with libraries shutting and the jobs of many professional librarians lost”.

Winners from screen and stage include Sophie Okonedo, who won several awards for Hotel Rwanda and was recently named best actress for the National Theatre’s production of Antony and Cleopatra. She receives a CBE. Thandie Newton, whose roles include DCI Roz Huntley in the TV drama Line of Duty, receives an OBE for services to film and charity.

Jim Carter, who played Mr Carson in the period drama Downton Abbey, was awarded an OBE. He was delighted the announcement came in time to be enjoyed by his 99-year-old mother, who “lit up at the good news”, he said. The film-maker Christopher Nolan, whose movies include Inception and Dunkirk, gets a CBE for services to film.

The TV naturalist Chris Packham receives a CBE for services to nature conservation. He vowed to continue his protests against violence to animals in the UK.

Thandie Newton.
Thandie Newton. Photograph: Richard Bord/Getty Images for Cannes Lions

Other media figures honoured include Glenda Bailey, the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar USA, who becomes a dame in the overseas list for her extensive contribution as an ambassador for the Great Britain campaign.

There are CBEs for the Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, the classical violinist Nicola Benedetti, the visual artist Tacita Dean and the conceptual artist Gillian Wearing.

Thomasina Miers, a MasterChef winner, cookery presenter and writer, is made an OBE, as is sculptor Alison Wilding.

Of the 1,148 honours, 544 (47%) are for women – the lowest percentage since 2013; 12% of successful candidates came from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background.

Top awards for women include a damehood for the Stagecoach co-founder Ann Gloag, for services to business and philanthropy, and also for the former CEO of Virgin Money, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, for services to the financial industry. Dr Helen Pankhurst, a senior adviser at Care international and the great-granddaughter of the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, receives a CBE for services to gender equality.

Business winners include the outgoing chairman of the London Stock Exchange group, Donald Brydon, who is knighted, and Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of the artificial intelligence company DeepMind, who is awarded a CBE.

The oldest recipient is 100-year-old Rupert Lingwood, a second world war veteran, who receives a BEM for services to the community in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland. The youngest, youth magazine founder Saeed Atcha, 22, receives an MBE for services to young people in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

One of the most unusual citations goes to Martin Frost, who receives an MBE for services to disappearing fore-edge painting. Frost, from Worthing, is reportedly the last commercial fore-edge painter, which involves painting an image on to the “stepped” incline of the edges of the pages of a book, which disappears when it is flat but comes alive as the pages are fanned.


Caroline Davies

The GuardianTramp

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