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Saturday, 15 June, 2002, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
New honour for Sir Ronnie
Former chief constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan has become the only person from Northern Ireland ever to receive a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE).

Sir Ronnie was given the award in the Queen's Birthday Honours List on Saturday.

Among the other Northern Ireland award recipients are former North Belfast MP Cecil Walker, former environment minister Sam Foster, playwright Marie Jones and senior civil servant David Watkins.

Honours have been awarded to 54 men and 21 women from Northern Ireland.

Sir Ronnie Flanagan

Sir Ronnie, who retired as chief constable earlier this year, was honoured for managing the changeover from the Royal Ulster Constabulary to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

He left the force under a cloud after he was heavily criticised for his handling of the investigation into the Omagh bomb atrocity.
Sir Ronnie: Second knighthood
Sir Ronnie: Second knighthood

Only four GBEs have been awarded since 1998.

GBEs are the second highest level of award within the Order of the British Empire.

It is the second major honour for Sir Ronnie, who has already been knighted.

Cecil Walker

Although one of the quiet men of Northern Ireland politics, Cecil Walker's support for the Good Friday Agreement gave the Ulster Unionist Yes camp a boost.

Cecil Walker: Veteran politician
Cecil Walker: Veteran politician
The veteran politician was one of the few UUP MPs to support the deal. He receives a knighthood.

A popular figure, he managed a timber firm before entering full-time politics.

Now aged 77, he left the Westminster stage with a wimper rather than a bang at the last general election.

Ted Hesketh

The head of Northern Ireland transport company Translink, Ted Hesketh, has been awarded the CBE in the honours list.

Mr Hesketh was appointed managing director of Citybus and Ulsterbus in 1988 and managing director of Translink in 1995 and overseen the merger of Northern Ireland's bus and rail services under one umbrella.
Ted Hesketh: Awarded the CBE
Ted Hesketh: Awarded the CBE

"This is a tremendous personal honour for myself and my family," he said.

"It is also a fitting tribute to the many men and women who have kept public transport operating through the dark years of the Troubles. It is truly a great privilege to work alongside the staff of Citybus, NI Railways and Ulsterbus."

Marie Jones

Belfast playwright Marie Jones has been awarded an OBE for her services to drama.

A founder member of the theatre Charabanc, she has written numerous plays which have been staged across the world.
Marie Jones: Award-winning playwright
Marie Jones: Award-winning playwright

She has written for the Dubbeljoint Theatre Company and her award-winning work includes Stones in his Pockets, A Night in November and Women on the Verge of HRT.

Her awards include the 1999 Irish Times award for best production and best actor, the Olivier award for best new comedy in 2001 and the Evening Standard Award in 2000.

She was recently appointed to the management board of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan.

Sam Foster

Former Ulster Unionist minister Sam Foster has received a CBE for political and public service.

Sam Foster: Former environment minister
Sam Foster: Former environment minister
The assembly member for Fermanagh-South Tyrone was Northern Ireland environment minister from 1999 to his retirement in February this year.

Mr Foster said he had enjoyed his time in office, but said it was time to hand over to a younger person.

However, he said he was determined to stay in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

John McCanny

Professor John McCanny is an international authority on microelectronics.

Professor John McCanny: International authority
Professor John McCanny: International authority
He has published more than 200 major journals and conference papers and holds 20 patents on his designs.

He lectured at the University of Ulster from 1977 to 1979 and was apointed reader in signals processing at Queen's in 1987, becoming professor of microelectronics engineering the following year.

In 1998, he was awarded a DSc by Queen's University, Belfast, in recognition of his research.

Professor McCanny is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and of the Royal Society and Royal Irish Academy.

Jonathan Bardon

A founding member of the Community Relations Council, Dr Jonathan Bardon has been awarded an OBE for services to community life.

A history teacher at Orangefield secondary school in east Belfast from 1964 to 1968, he lectured at Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education before moving to the Modern History department at Queen's University.

He became chair of the Community Relations Council in 1996.

David Watkins

A civil servant since 1972, David Watkins was seconded to the European Commission and to the Northern Ireland Office as principal private secretary to the secretary of state from 1986-88.

He was awarded the Order of the Bath.

He is currently senior director of the Northern Ireland Office.

BBC NI's Louise Cullen:
"This is the second honour for Sir Ronnie"

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See also:

14 Jun 02 | Birthday Honours 2002
14 Jun 02 | Entertainment
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