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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 June, 2004, 08:27 GMT 09:27 UK
Whiteley gets an OBE in honours
Presenters Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman
Richard Whiteley has become well known for Countdown
The Queen's Birthday honours list has been announced with a number of surprises for people in the Yorkshire and Humber area.

OBEs have been awarded to West Yorkshire TV presenter Richard Whiteley and Ilkley-born novelist Jilly Cooper.

Philip Toase, Chief Fire Officer for West Yorkshire gets a CBE for services to the fire service, and Philip Morris from Harrogate got an MBE.

Richard Gregory gets a CBE for services to the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Novelist 'flattered'

Mr Whiteley is well known for his loud ties, excruciating puns and being a target for Terry Wogan's witticisms

The honorary mayor of Wetwang in East Yorkshire also achieved notoriety when he was attacked on TV by a ferret.

More seriously, he has also interviewed every UK prime minister since the 50s.

Mrs Cooper has been left feeling "flattered" after being awarded the OBE.

Famed for painting a raunchy picture of the horse-riding world, she said she nearly fainted when she was told about the prestigious honour.

She said: "It is heavenly to be honoured with such an award.

"I am terribly excited, I have never had a medal before. I think they are being very kind and I am flattered."

Also featuring in this year's list are a number of people from the region who have been honoured for their work, including John Box, a substance misuse worker for the Young Offenders Institute in Wetherby and Maureen Baker who has been awarded an OBE for services to the community in Leeds.

Vera Gray, a dinner lady from Bugthorpe Church of England Primary School, York, has been granted an MBE for services to education.

Professor Anthony May from Thirsk has been granted an OBE for his work in transport studies, Karen Hague received an OBE for services to families in Sheffield and Cora Heptonstall has been awarded with an OBE for services to the community in Howden, East Riding of Yorkshire.

Sir Richard Whiteley
"I hadn't told a single person"


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