Rio Ferdinand given OBE and Damian Lewis CBE in Queen’s birthday honours list

Gareth Bale, Eve Muirhead, Bonnie Tyler and Chi-chi Nwanoku among honourees from arts and sport

Football commentator Rio Ferdinand and actor Damian Lewis are among well-known faces from the worlds of sport and the arts recognised in the platinum jubilee Queen’s birthday honours.

Lewis, 51, star of Band of Brothers, Homeland and Wolf Hall, receives a CBE for services to drama and charity. During the coronavirus lockdown he and his late wife, the actor Helen McCrory, co-founded Feed NHS, helping to raise more than £1m to give food from high street restaurants to NHS staff. The honour comes after McCrory, 52, a star of stage and screen including roles in Peaky Blinders and the Harry Potter films, died in April 2021 after suffering from cancer.

Lewis said on Wednesday night: “What a great honour to be awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to drama and for the charity work that I have carried out over the years and during the pandemic with my late wife, Helen McCrory. Thank you very much. She and I are both thrilled.”

Ex-Manchester United defender Ferdinand, who won 81 England caps and six Premier League titles, is awarded an OBE for his activism and charity work. The 43-year-old, whose first wife, Rebecca, died from breast cancer in 2015, is a high-profile activist who has won praise for his work on bereavement and for his foundation set up to help tackle inequality, racism and the stigma surrounding mental health.

Five-times Champions League winner and former Tottenham winger Gareth Bale, 32, is made an MBE. The Cardiff-born forward donated more than 1m euros to hospitals in Wales and Spain in April 2020 in the early stages of the pandemic, and has supported other charities in his home country.

Liverpool player James Milner is made an MBE in recognition of the foundation he set up to promote healthy recreation for young people.

Fans with Mike Summerbee before the 2021 Champions League final
Fans with Mike Summerbee before the 2021 Champions League final. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

Mike Summerbee, a star of the Manchester City side of the 1960s and 70s, receives an OBE, as does former Watford and England striker Luther Blissett. Blissett is a patron of the Sporting Memories Foundation, a charity that tackles dementia, loneliness and depression through the power of sport.

English cricketer Moeen Ali, who receives an OBE, said: “It’s an honour to be recognised, it’s amazing and my family are really proud and happy.”

Eve Muirhead, of Great Britain’s women’s curling side, is made an OBE after helping the country top the podium at February’s Winter Olympics, as teammates Jennifer Dodds, Hailey Duff, Mili Smith and Victoria Wright receive MBEs along with coach David Murdoch. There are MBEs also for snooker players Mark Selby and Judd Trump.

Great Britain’s women’s curlers Mili Smith, Hailey Duff, Jennifer Dodds, Vicky Wright and Eve Muirhead with their Olympic medals
Great Britain’s women’s curlers Mili Smith, Hailey Duff, Jennifer Dodds, Vicky Wright and Eve Muirhead with their Olympic medals. Photograph: Ed Sykes/Action Images/Reuters

Clare Balding, a sports broadcaster who is made a CBE, said: “I am so surprised and truly thrilled,” adding she saw it “as a reflection of how much people care about sport”.

Brynmor Williams, 70, who played rugby union, rugby league and competed in athletics for Wales, becomes an MBE. A test player for the British Lions in 1977, he has been a well-known television and radio pundit in both English and Welsh.

Television personalities on the list include MasterChef duo John Torode and Gregg Wallace, who receive MBEs. Wallace said the honour was “something akin to a fairytale story”, while Torode said he was “humbled and very grateful”.

Bonnie Tyler on stage at the Starlite festival in Marbella, Malaga in 2021
Bonnie Tyler on stage at the Starlite festival in Marbella, Malaga in 2021. Photograph: Antonio Paz/EPA

Singer Bonnie Tyler, 70, who grew up in Wales as Gaynor Hopkins and is best known for the hit Total Eclipse of the Heart, is made an MBE. Joanne Harris, an author best known for her novel Chocolat, and Justin Hayward, lead singer and guitarist of rock bank the Moody Blues, receive OBEs.

Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton, 46, known for the role of barman Sean Tully, said he was “completely overwhelmed” at his MBE for services to British Army personnel and veterans. He said: “Working with our amazing armed forces, in particular the Army, has truly been the greatest honour of my life.” His co-star Helen Worth also becomes an MBE, as does actor Pauline Quirke, founder of the Pauline Quirke Academy.

Stephen Hough at the piano
Stephen Hough. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

Renowned pianist and composer Stephen Hough, who has appeared regularly with some of the world’s leading orchestras as a soloist, including 29 appearances at the BBC Proms, is knighted. He said his honour “implied acknowledgment that classical music is something of continuing relevance and importance in British cultural life”.

Chi-chi Nwanoku, founder of Europe’s first majority black and minority ethnic orchestra, and artist Cornelia Parker both receive CBEs.


Caroline Davies

The GuardianTramp

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