COVID fighters lead UK honours list

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  • Gregor Smith
    Scottish general practitioner

The medical chiefs leading the UK's battle against coronavirus have been recognised in New Year Honours list after a year that saw a relentless rollout of the vaccination program.

England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty, deputy CMO Jonathan Van-Tam and Wales' and Scotland's CMOs, Frank Atherton and Dr Gregor Smith, have been given knighthoods.

There are also damehoods for UK Health Security Agency chief Jenny Harries and June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, after a year in which the threat of new variants arose and more than 130 million vaccinations were administered.

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.

Team GB's Olympians and Paralympians who took gold in Tokyo are among those named, including cyclists Jason and Laura Kenny, who are thought to be the first married couple to be recognised on the same honours list.

Teenage tennis sensation Emma Raducanu has added another title after winning the US Open in September, as she can now say she is a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

The Cabinet Office said nearly one in five (19 per cent) of the honours are for COVID-related service.

Former Labour MP Frank Field, now a crossbench peer, has been made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for his public and political service.

On the list, 15.1 per cent of recipients are from an ethnic minority background, slightly higher than the line-up in June, but just 35.9 per cent of recipients at CBE level and above are women.

It is dominated by sporting figures from the pool to the velodrome, but none of England's Euro 2020 finalists have been included, with the exception of assistant manager Steve Holland.

Raducanu, who was voted the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year, is made an MBE after a fairy-tale 2021, in which the 19-year-old stormed to victory in the US Open in New York in September.

Jason Kenny's exploits in Tokyo made him Great Britain's most decorated Olympian and he now has a knighthood to go with his seven gold medals, while his wife, Laura, is made a dame after becoming the most successful British female athlete in Olympic history.

Diver Tom Daley, who won gold in the 10m synchro, will be made an OBE, while his partner, Matty Lee, will be made an MBE.

Strictly Come Dancing star Adam Peaty will be made an OBE and there is an MBE for Tom Dean after both swimmers won Olympic gold.

Seven-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft, who has been made an OBE after winning two golds in wheelchair racing, urged more disabled children to take up sports in school.

In entertainment, 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.

Actresses Joanna Lumley and Vanessa Redgrave are to be made dames, while James Bond franchise producer Barbara Broccoli will be made a CBE.

Diversity member Ashley Banjo and former Spice Girl Mel B are both to be made an MBE. The comedian Adam Hills is also to be made an MBE.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "These recipients have inspired and entertained us and given so much to their communities in the UK or in many cases around the world."

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