Tuesday 21 November 2017

'Murder, She Wrote' star heads queen's honours list

Ellen Branagh

Angela Lansbury, Penelope Keith, singer Katherine Jenkins, 'Gavin and Stacey' co-creator Ruth Jones and the parents of murdered teenager Jimmy Mizen are among those to receive honours in Queen Elizabeth's new year's list.

Ms Lansbury (88), who has made her home in Cork since the 1970s, has been made a Dame of the British Empire. Her mother was the Irish actress Moyna MacGill, who regularly appeared on stage in the West End.

Jenkins said the honour left her feeling "incredibly humbled. To accept such an award after only a decade of service to music and charity comes as a wonderful surprise," she said.

"I share this award with the charitable bodies I am so privileged to work with, especially to those brave servicemen and women who risk so much for us all on a daily basis."

Some 1,195 people have received an award, and for the first time since the Order of the British Empire was founded in 1917 there are more women (51pc) on the list than men.

Among those to be recognised from the world of showbusiness are actress Lynda Bellingham and writer and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig -- who receive OBEs -- while MBEs go to Ruth Jones, DJ Pete Tong and 'Grand Designs' presenter Kevin McCloud.

'Loose Women' panellist Bellingham, who recently announced she had been diagnosed with cancer, said her award was "a fantastic way to move forward" following a "tough year".

And actor Michael Crawford, who played Frank Spencer in 1970s sitcom 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em', said his CBE for services to children's charities was "the most wonderful surprise".

Despite reports to the contrary, the list does not include knighthoods for footballer David Beckham and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.

Murray, who was given an OBE after his Olympic gold medal, was touted as a possible knighthood recipient after becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry 77 years ago.

Beckham, who announced his retirement earlier this year, was tipped to get the honour for his sporting success and work on the London 2012 Olympics bid. He received an OBE in 2003.

Also on this year's list is Caroline Cassells, matron at the private King Edward VII's Hospital in central London, where Kate was treated for morning sickness. She becomes a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO).

The Order of Merit (OM) goes to orchestra conductor Simon Rattle and to world-renowned heart surgeon Professor Magdi Yacoub.


Awarded to individuals of great achievement in the fields of the arts, learning, literature and science, there can be a total of only 24 OMs at any one time, making it a highly exclusive collection of members.

Previous recipients include Florence Nightingale and Winston Churchill, as well as honorary members Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela.

Actress Penelope Keith, who became a household name as Margot Leadbetter in 1970s sitcom 'The Good Life', becomes a dame in this year's list, as does 'Murder, She Wrote' actress Lansbury, who is in the Diplomatic and Overseas List.

Knighthoods go to film and theatre producer Michael Codron; sculptor Antony Gormley; and former Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker

'Angel Of The North' creator Antony Gormley said he accepted his knighthood as "a recognition" for the art form.

He said he was "happy" to accept the honour, describing it as a "good thing for sculpture and a recognition of the aspect of sculpture that is about a collective vision".

Toksvig said she felt "honoured" to be recognised, adding that she would like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to all the writers, production and technical staff she has worked with. Jones, who set parts of 'Gavin & Stacey' in her native South Wales, described her award as not "just tidy, it's proper tidy".

"Apparently great uncle Leslie got an OBE in the 40s and uncle Jack the fireman got one in the 60s. So I'm keeping up with the Joneses," she said with a smile.

Elsewhere in the arts, composer and conductor Peter Maxwell Davies, who is Master of the Queen's Music, becomes a Companion of Honour.


CBEs go to ballet dancer Carlos Acosta; former English FA chairman David Bernstein; and presenter Nicholas Parsons, known for his long-standing position as host of the radio game show 'Just A Minute'.

Barry and Margaret Mizen, whose 16-year-old son Jimmy was murdered in London in May 2008, receive MBEs for their services to young people.

The couple set up the Jimmy Mizen Foundation to help young people play a positive role in their communities.

Mr Mizen said the award was not just a reward for him and his wife but for the whole family, who are all involved in some way in the foundation.

"We weren't expecting anything at all like this. We're really chuffed," he said.

Irish Independent

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