Covid experts and community helpers dominate New Year honours

Experts leading the UK’s effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including the government’s most prominent advisers, once again dominate the New Year honours list.

In a separate announcement, the Queen has appointed former prime minister Tony Blair a knight companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the most senior order of chivalry and one that is in her personal gift.

In the main honours. Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, will receive KCBs.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, and Emily Lawson, former chief commercial officer of NHS England who oversaw much of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, will be made DBEs.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, will be knighted, as will Frank Atherton and Gregor Smith, the chief medical officers for Wales and Scotland respectively.

About 200 people who have worked in their communities to help the public cope with the pandemic will also be honoured. These include Tobias Weller, 11, and Max Woosey, 12, who will receive BEMs for their fundraising efforts during the crisis and are among the youngest recipients of an honour.

Figures in the business world who will receive honours include Jan du Plessis, Nigel Wilson, Doug Oakervee, William Russell and Ian Livingstone, who will all be knighted, and Vivienne Cox, who will be made a DBE.

Du Plessis, the former chair of BT and miner Rio Tinto, was nominated by the government last week to be the new chair of the UK accounting watchdog. Wilson is chief executive of financial services company Legal and General, and Oakervee is a former chair of rail companies HS2 and Crossrail.

Russell was the last lord mayor of the City of London while Livingstone has been prominent in the online gaming industry, including being a co-founder of Games Workshop.

Cox is an independent non-executive director at pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline and a prominent advocate of diversity and inclusion in business.

Robert Stringer, chair of Sony Music, Kathleen Grussing, managing director at the search group Sapphire Partners, and Shalini Khemka, chief executive of E2E, a group representing 23,000 entrepreneurs, will all receive CBEs.

Blair said he was “deeply grateful to Her Majesty the Queen” for his appointment as a knight of the Garter. Sir John Major is the only former prime minister who is already a member of the order.

Other appointments to the order announced on Friday include Baroness Valerie Amos, a former international development secretary and UN humanitarian co-ordinator, and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles’s wife.

Among the other politicians being honoured is veteran Labour member Lord Frank Field, who will be made a Companion of Honour.

Others on the list are Conservative MPs William Wiggin and Robert Goodwill, who will both become knights. Former MPs Sylvia Heal, Labour, and John Battle, Conservative, will become a dame and knight respectively.

Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Sir Paul Nurse will also be made a Companion of Honour for his contribution to scientific research.

A string of honours will go to prominent sportspeople, including 78 Olympians and Paralympians to recognise their success at the Tokyo Games. Among the list are married Olympians Laura and Jason Kenny, who will receive a damehood and knighthood for services to cycling.

Tennis player Emma Raducanu will receive an MBE following her US Open win in September. The 19-year-old is the first British woman to win a major singles title since Virginia Wade’s victory at Wimbledon in 1977.

Swimmer Adam Peaty and diver Tom Daley will both receive OBEs for raising awareness of mental health and LGBT issues respectively as well as their gold medal-winning achievements.

Prominent figures from the arts world to be recognised include actresses Joanna Lumley and Vanessa Redgrave, who will both become dames for their services to drama, entertainment and charity.

Alistair Spalding, artistic director and chief executive of the world-leading dance organisation Sadler’s Wells, will be knighted and James Bond actor Daniel Craig will be made a CMG.

Boris Johnson, UK prime minister, 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.

“The honours are an opportunity for us to thank them, as a country, for their dedication and outstanding contribution.”

Additional reporting by Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe

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