New Year Honours: Women Overtake Men

More women than men have been named in the New Year Honours List for the first time ever.

Actress Penelope Keith is made a dame along with Professor Julia Slingo, chief scientist at the Met Office, and Professor Susan Bailey, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

New Year Honours: Women Overtake Men

Singer Katherine Jenkins, actress Lynda Bellingham and Arsenal Ladies footballer Rachel Yankey all receive OBEs, while businesswoman Karren Brady gets a CBE.

Ruth Jones, star and co-writer of Stella and Gavin & Stacey, is awarded an MBE.

In all, 611 women are honoured, accounting for 51% of the list, the highest total since the Order of the British Empire was founded in 1917.

Keith said she was “elated, exhausted and thrilled.”

The 73-year-old, known for her crisp diction and roles in sitcoms such as To The Manor Born and The Good Life, receives her honour for services to the arts and to charity.

She said: “It’s the big one. I had already got an OBE and then a CBE, so I don’t know what is better than the icing on the cake – but this is.”

Former England footballer David Beckham and Wimbledon winner Andy Murray had both been tipped for knighthoods but both missed out.

Marcus Setchell, the doctor who oversaw the safe delivery of Prince George, is recognised for his work caring for the Duchess of Cambridge.

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”.

The parents of murdered teenager Jimmy Mizen were given MBEs for their work setting up a foundation in their son’s memory.

Mother Margaret Mizen revealed that she heard about the award in November but had to keep it secret.

“I just couldn’t believe it I was in total shock,” she said.

“We were determined not to be beaten by what happened.

“We go into schools and prisons and we share Jimmy’s story but we don’t go in telling them what to do, to put their knives down or put their guns down … but we tell them how special they are.”

Julie Bailey, who led the campaign to highlight the scandal at Stafford hospital, dedicated her CBE to her late mother Bella.

She said: “We haven’t let powerful people silence us and brush it under the carpet we have just kept our heads down and kept going with dignity and respect.”

MBEs have also been awarded to DJ Pete Tong, Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud and 90-year-old Bettina Dawson, who has been serving fish and chips to the people of Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway since 1928.

PM David Cameron has also faced criticism for “cronyism” over honours handed out to people close to him.

His close friend PR firm boss Alan Parker is knighted.  Karren Brady has worked as a Government business advisor.

In Mr Cameron’s constituency Marion Dowding becomes an MBE for voluntary political service. She was once deputy chairman of the Witney Conservative Association and now runs the local Tory Supper Club.

Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott said: “Far too many go to the rich and famous and people who give money to political parties.

“It should be just for the unsung heroes, just for the people who do their job year-in year-out in exceptional circumstances.”

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