The medical chiefs leading the UK’s battle against coronavirus have been recognised with top awards in the New Year Honours list.
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and his deputy Professor Jonathan Van-Tam have been given knighthoods, along with the chief medical officers for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, and Scotland, Dr Gregor Smith.
There are also damehoods for Dr Jenny Harries, who leads the UK Health Security Agency, and Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), after a year in which more than 130 million vaccination doses were administered in the UK.
Nearly one in five (19%) of the honours in the New Year list are for COVID-related service, the Cabinet Office revealed – while famous faces to receive awards include Tony Blair (knighted), Coronation Street star William Roache (OBE), Spice Girl Mel B (MBE), tennis ace Emma Raducanu (MBE) and a host of Olympians.
Prof Whitty has become a household name during the pandemic after regularly appearing alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Downing Street news conferences. Prof Van-Tam has also been a regular feature at the briefings, with many praising his colourful analogies to explain scientific concepts in layman’s terms.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the honours list “rightly recognises those whose efforts have helped us deliver world-leading testing and vaccination programmes” and added he was “deeply grateful for their hard work”.
The government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, who was originally knighted in the 2019 New Year Honours list, is elevated to a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.
Kate Garraway honoured after husband’s COVID battle
Kate Garraway has been made an MBE after documenting her husband Derek Draper’s battle with coronavirus.
The TV presenter, 54, has been recognised for her services to broadcasting, journalism and charity.
She won a National Television Award in September for her hard-hitting documentary Finding Derek, which charted her family’s struggle to get her husband home from hospital after he became seriously ill with COVID in March 2020.
A sequel, titled Caring For Derek, is set to air in 2022 and will show the period following Derek’s return home as Garraway navigates the challenges of the social care system.
Consumer champion Martin Lewis has been made a CBE for services to broadcasting and consumer rights after helping households and businesses navigate the pandemic.
Lewis, the founder of the Money Saving Expert website, has helped people claim what they have been entitled to under various government support schemes.
Two supermarket chiefs have also received honours for their actions to keep shelves stocked across the country amid the pandemic.
Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-op Group, and Roger Burnley, who stepped down as Asda chief executive earlier this year, are being made CBEs.
Tony Blair, Team GB stars and tennis sensation Raducanu honoured
Former prime minister Tony Blair is to be knighted with the highest possible ranking, Buckingham Palace announced.
The longest-serving Labour PM said it was an “immense honour” after being appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.
Sporting figures feature heavily in the New Year Honours list including Team GB stars and teenage tennis sensation Emma Raducanu.
Olympic cyclists Jason and Laura Kenny are thought to be the first married couple to be recognised on the same honours list after their gold-medal winning performances at the Tokyo Olympics.
Jason Kenny – Great Britain’s most decorated Olympian – has been awarded a knighthood to go with his seven gold medals, while Laura Kenny is made a dame after becoming the first British woman to win gold at three consecutive Olympics.
Raducanu, 19, is awarded an MBE after her sensational win at the US Open in September.
Diver Tom Daley, who won his first Olympic gold at his fourth Games in Tokyo, will be made an OBE, while his diving partner, Matty Lee, will be made an MBE.
Adam Peaty, who became the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title, is being made an OBE, as is seven-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft after winning two golds in wheelchair racing.
Sky News presenter Trevor Phillips is being knighted for his services to equality and human rights, while veteran broadcaster Moira Stuart has been made a CBE.
In entertainment, actresses Joanna Lumley and Vanessa Redgrave have been awarded damehoods.
Coronation Street actor William Roache and EastEnders star June Brown have been made OBEs, while songwriter Bernie Taupin, best known for his long-running collaboration with Sir Elton John, has been made a CBE.
TV presenter Katie Piper, who suffered life-changing burns in an acid attack in March 2008, has been awarded an OBE for services to charity and victims of burns and other disfigurement injuries.
Spice Girl Mel B, Diversity member Ashley Banjo and comedian Adam Hills have been made MBEs.
Daniel Craig has been given a special diplomatic honour after his final outing as James Bond in No Time To Die.
The departing 007 is made a companion of the Order of St Michael and St George – which is styled CMG and was also conferred on the fictional spy in the film series and Ian Fleming’s books.
Veteran politician Frank Field, who served as an MP for 40 years and is now a crossbench peer, has been made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour, joining the likes of Sir Elton John, JK Rowling and Sir Paul McCartney.
Hospital porter, 85, and charity fundraisers aged 11 and 12 honoured
Two charity fundraisers are receiving the British Empire Medal at the ages of just 11 and 12 – the youngest honours recipients on record.
Twelve-year-old Max Woosey, from Braunton in Devon, has raised more than £570,000 for North Devon Hospice by spending every night in a tent since March 28 2020.
He is joined on the honours list by 11-year-old Tobias Weller, nicknamed “Captain” after he was inspired by his hero Captain Sir Tom Moore to start raising money during the pandemic lockdowns.
He completed his third challenge in September and has so far raised more than £157,000 for Paces School, where he is a student, and The Children’s Hospital Charity, in his home town of Sheffield, South Yorkshire.
In the health service, an 85-year-old porter has been awarded the British Empire Medal.
Jimmy Chapman works at Lisburn Health Centre, in Northern Ireland, where he takes care of patients, starting at 4am every morning.
The mother of Manchester Arena bombing victim Martyn Hett is being made an OBE.
Figen Murray, who has completed a master’s degree in counter terrorism, has campaigned for increased security measures and spoken to 14,000 schoolchildren about the dangers of radicalisation since her son was killed in the terror attack.
On the New Year Honours list, 15.1% of recipients are from an ethnic minority background, slightly higher than the line-up in June, and just 35.9% of recipients at CBE level and above are women.
Cabinet Office investigating ‘disappointing’ leak
The Cabinet Office said it was looking into the early leaking of names on the New Year Honours list, which it described as “very disappointing”.
A number of people were revealed to be on the list ahead of the official announcement on Friday.
It means in some cases recipients are denied the chance to tell their family and friends themselves.
Alison Bennett, head of honours in the Cabinet Office’s Honours and Appointments Secretariat, said: “There were a number of names that have appeared elsewhere, some accurately and some not.
“The leaking of any names from this list is very disappointing for us, we ask both committee members and other people involved in the process to confidence and we ask recipients themselves also to keep their award in confidence.”