Page last updated at 08:10 GMT, Saturday, 13 June 2009 09:10 UK

Fashion and film stars honoured

Jeff Banks
Jeff Banks said his honour is good for the fashion industry

A fashion heavyweight, film star, author and dozens of community champions in Wales have been recognised in the Queen's birthday honours.

Designer Jeff Banks, 66, from Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent, whose clothes sell around the world, becomes a CBE.

Flintshire-born actor Jonathan Pryce is also appointed CBE and writer Dr Elaine Morgan of Mountain Ash is made an OBE.

Meanwhile, volunteers and charity workers from across the country are also recognised in the annual honours.

Banks, who launched his career in 1964 with the Clobber brand and went on to present the BBC Clothes Show, was honoured for services to the fashion industry.

He said he thought his turn would "never come".

"I really thought I'd done something wrong because I've never got an award. I thought I'd been naughty in a past life and that my turn would never come," he said.

"It's good for the fashion industry, which does not get many awards like this. It's really lovely that we should get recognised."

Dr Elaine Morgan
I couldn't be more pleased [about the honour] because I need all the credibility I can get at the moment
Dr Elaine Morgan

The designer's clothes are now sold in countries including the UK, US, Australia and Japan, and he is opening two stores in China this year.

He is also patron of the Prince's Trust and is currently working on a scheme with the charity to help young people get jobs in the fashion industry.

Award-winning actor Pryce, 62, is honoured for services to drama.

Born John Price in Holywell, Flintshire, he has had a celebrated career on both stage and screen, starring in films such as Evita, Pirates Of The Caribbean and Tomorrow Never Dies and musicals including Oliver! My Fair Lady and Miss Saigon.

The writer Dr Elaine Morgan said she was "so excited" to be recognised for her services to literature and to education.

The 88-year-old, who was born near Pontypridd and now lives in nearby Mountain Ash in Rhondda Cynon Taf, started her career as a TV dramatist in the 1950s, winning two BAFTA awards.

She went on to write the best selling book The Descent of Woman and five books about human evolution.

She said she hoped her CBE would give her "credibility" in the science world, where she has been promoting the theory of evolution that humans are descended from an ape ancestor which moved from the trees to live in and around water.

I'm over the moon. I never expected something like this - I'm speechless
Maurice Hancock MBE

Dr Morgan said she is continually challenging the scientific establishment to engage with the 'aquatic ape theory' and she hoped her honour would show "that I'm not just a batty old woman".

"I couldn't be more pleased [about the honour] because I need all the credibility I can get at the moment," said the writer, who now devotes her time to touring the UK giving talks about the theory, which she said was first proposed by Sir Alistair Hardy in the 1960s.

Meanwhile, the great and good who help in their local communities and give their time to charities have also been recognised.


Barrie Duncan McGill, 70, of Abersoch, Gwynedd, is made an MBE for services to the RNLI after 44 years of volunteering for the charity.

"I was just amazed when I found out. I see it as a reflection on the work our station in Abersoch does," said Mr McGill, whose wife Sue and son Neil also volunteer for the RNLI.

"I retired in February when I was 70 but before that I was in the lifeboat crew for 20 years and then for the last 17 years was the operational manager of the station. I do miss it, it was a big chunk of my life."

In the Rhondda, Maurice Hancock is also made an MBE for voluntary service to Treherbert Boys' and Girls' Club.

The 82-year-old joined the organisation in 1940 - and has never left.

Linda Robters
Linda Roberts said she dedicated her MBE to her staff and her family

"I've been there the best part of 50-60 years," said Mr Hancock, who has been both chairman and treasurer at the club.

"We do all sorts of sports, such as football, pool, snooker, table tennis for youngsters aged nine and over. I really enjoy it and it gives them something to do.

"I was really surprised when I heard [about the MBE]. I'm over the moon. I never expected something like this - I'm speechless."

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service's control manager Linda Roberts was also awarded an MBE for services to local government.

The 56-year-old is responsible for the 35 North Wales Fire and Rescue Service staff who operate in the Joint Communications Centre, responding to emergency calls from the public around the clock.

The mother-of-two, from Dyserth, Denbighshire, said of the honour: "Once I got over the initial shock, it was a massive honour to be recognised in this way and I would like to dedicate this honour to my staff, who are consistently professional and hard working and always respond positively, and to my family who have supported me throughout my career."

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