Singer Rod Stewart has been knighted in a Queen’s Birthday Honours list that also recognises the achievements of British astronaut Tim Peake.
Major Peake was on the International Space Station when he received the news he would become a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to space research and scientific education.
The knighthood for Sir Rod, whose own stellar career has seen him sell more than 100 million records over six decades, is for services to music and charity.
“Forces sweetheart” Dame Vera Lynn joins the elite Companions of Honour in recognition of her services to entertainment and charity.
And Downton Abbey actress Penelope Wilton is made a dame for her services to drama.
There are CBEs for England cricket captain Alastair Cook, former footballer Alan Shearer and broadcaster Janet Street-Porter, and OBEs for TV presenters Ant and Dec and actor Brian Blessed.
The UK’s first official astronaut, Major Peake is due to return to Earth this month after a six-month mission and said he was “honoured to receive the first appointment to the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George for extraordinary service beyond our planet”.
The honour is usually given for “serving the UK abroad”.
Stewart, 71 – now officially Sir Roderick – said: “I’ve led a wonderful life and have had a tremendous career thanks to the generous support of the great British public. This monumental honour has topped it off and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Of the 1,149 people recognised on the list, 70% are being honoured for work in their communities, either in a voluntary or paid capacity.
The youngest person on the list is 21-year-old apprentice Gary Doyle, who receives a British Empire Medal (BEM) after taking gold at the World Skills event for his “extraordinary plumbing and heating prowess”.
The Cabinet Office said it was the “most diverse” since the Order of the British Empire was founded in 1917. Women make up 47% of the total, 8.2% are from a black and minority ethnic background and 5.2% consider themselves to have a disability.
However, Vote Leave has accused David Cameron of “abusing the honours system” – pointing out 22 prominent supporters of the campaign to remain in the EU are on the list, which goes to the prime minister for approval.
But a government spokesman said the honours were unconnected to the referendum, adding the names were selected by independent committees “well before” the date of the vote was announced, and also included prominent supporters from the Leave side.
Queen's Birthday Honours 2016
'Most diverse' list to date
70% for outstanding working in their communities
47% are women
8% are from black or minority ethnic backgrounds
5% are disabled
Dame Vera, 99, whose songs buoyed the spirits of millions during World War Two, said: “I felt very greatly honoured to be given a damehood and never expected to receive anything else.”
Also becoming a Companion of Honour is Lord Smith of Kelvin. A former BBC governor, he has overseen the process of devolving more powers to Scotland, and is recognised for his public service.
The OBEs for Britain’s Got Talent hosts Ant and Dec – Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly – are for services to broadcasting and entertainment.
In a joint statement, they said they were “shocked but incredibly honoured”. Describing themselves as “two ordinary lads from the west end of Newcastle” they added: “This will definitely be the proudest our mams have ever been.”
Among the others from the world of entertainment is actor and BBC radio presenter Adil Ray, the creator of TV comedy Citizen Khan, who becomes an OBE.
There are 13 new dames on the list.
They include Louise Casey, who has undertaken high-profile work for successive governments on issues including anti-social behaviour. Her honour comes for services to families and vulnerable people. Last year Dame Louise produced a report into child sex abuse in Rotherham.
Youth worker Jayne Senior, who said the report vindicated her efforts to help expose the scandal, is appointed MBE for services to child protection in Rotherham. Her inclusion on the list was “bittersweet”, she said, because it came in the wake of so many “ruined and devastated” young lives.
One of the world’s leading experts in forensic anthropology, Prof Sue Black from Dundee University, said she was “more than a little embarrassed” to receive a damehood for services to her profession.
“However, it is certainly always encouraging for me… to receive recognition because everything we do reflects on the team,” she said.
Rotha Johnston has been made a dame for services to the Northern Ireland economy and her role promoting female entrepreneurship through in the Northern Ireland Women’s Network.
Among the 19 men given knighthoods are Damon Buffini – recently appointed chairman of the National Theatre – for voluntary and charitable services, and artist Michael Craig-Martin for services to art.
In the year that marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Prof Stanley Wells, scholar and honorary president of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, is knighted for services to scholarship.
Prof Doug Turnbull, the doctor behind a ground-breaking IVF technique which prevents disabling genetic disorders from being passed on to future generations, also becomes a sir.
Knighthoods for political service go to Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson; Tory MP Desmond Swayne, the International Development Minister; former Labour MP David Hamilton, and former Conservative MSP Alex Fergusson,
Former miner Sir David spent two months in prison during the industry’s strike in the 1980s before later being cleared of assault. He later served as MP for Midlothian for 14 years. Sir Alex was a champion of rural affairs during his 17 years at Holyrood, and his knighthood also acknowledges his work in the Scottish parliamentary process and public life in Scotland.
The CBE for England cricket captain Cook, who recently became the youngest player to score 10,000 Test runs, is for services to the game, while his teammate Stuart Broad becomes an OBE.
Former Newcastle and England footballer Shearer, who is appointed CBE for charitable services to the community in north-east England, joins several other sporting names on the list.
These include Chelsea Ladies FC manager Emma Hayes (MBE), rugby referee Nigel Owens (MBE) and Davis Cup tennis players Jamie Murray and Leon Smith (OBEs).
Smith, who led Great Britain to a first title Davis Cup title since 1936, said he started out as a “very average” tennis player, and described his honour as “humbling”.
Martine Wiltshire, a Team GB sitting volleyball player and Paralympian, who lost both her legs in the London 7/7 bombings, is appointed MBE for services to sport.
Hayley Turner, the most successful female jockey in British history, is appointed OBE for services to horse racing following her retirement from the sport last year.
There is also a CBE for Prof Laura Jean McAllister, chairman of Sport Wales.
The honours system
Commonly awarded ranks:
- Companion of honour – Limited to 65 people. Recipients wear the initials CH after their name
- Knight or Dame
- CBE – Commander of the Order of the British Empire
- OBE – Officer of the Order of the British Empire
- MBE – Member of the Order of the British Empire
- BEM – British Empire Medal
From the business world, Simon Duffy and Rhodri Ferrier, co-founders of men’s skincare brand Bulldog, become MBEs, while Alex Chesterman, co-founder of property search website Zoopla becomes an OBE.
OBEs also go to Martin Dickie and James Watt, co-founders of craft beer company BrewDog. It is a double celebration for Mr Watt as his illustrator wife Johanna Basford has been appointed OBE for services to art and entrepreneurship.
Meanwhile, Eben Upton, pioneer of the Raspberry Pi bare-bones computer, becomes a CBE. The same honour goes to Peter Davies, former commissioner of Sustainable Futures in Wales.
Gary Etchells, a Police Community Support Officer, who was stabbed in the neck in the line of duty in Greater Manchester, becomes an MBE for services to policing. A CBE for Adrian Leppard, lately commissioner, City of London Police, recognises his policing career and efforts to tackle economic crime.
Margaret Calvert, who helped design the signage system for the UK road network in the late 1950s, is appointed OBE. She was responsible for several pictograms, including the “children crossing” sign.
There are OBEs for Timothy Cooke, for services to the 200th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Waterloo, and Jennifer Shaw, from the Department of Culture, for services to the commemoration of the centenary of World War One. An MBE also goes to Roger Stanton for services to the World War Two Escape Lines Memorial Society.
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36492850