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Friday, 27 October, 2000, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
Morse creator gets OBE
Colin Dexter
Colin Dexter: Services to literature
Colin Dexter, the creator of Inspector Morse, received an OBE at Buckingham Palace on Friday.

Skiffle music pioneer Lonnie Donegan was honoured with an MBE while Welsh rugby player Neil Jenkins was given an MBE for services to sport.

Dexter, 70, who receives the award for services to literature, killed off the popular detective in the last of his 14 Morse novels.

I have occasionally written a few books but only after the Archers and before going for a pint

Colin Dexter
He said he felt "a bit of a cheat" after receiving his OBE for services to literature as he had spent most of his career as a schoolmaster.

He said after being presented with his award by Prince Charles: "It is an extraordinary honour but I feel a bit of cheat because I've not really been a writer at all.


"I have occasionally written a few books but only after the Archers and before going for a pint.

"The Prince said he was amazed I had written so much but it really was only in my spare time."

Mr Dexter added that he was still mourning Morse, whose final episode is to be screened later this year.

Lonnie Donegan
Pioneer: Donegan paved the way for skiffle music
He said: "I get letters from people who are very fed up and say they are not going to forgive me. But he's been with me for 27 years and I'm going to miss him more than anybody."

A dramatised version of The Remorseful Day, starring John Thaw, is screened on ITV later this year.

Dexter wrote his first Morse novel, Last Bus to Woodstock, in 1975 while on holiday in Wales and before becoming a full-time writer he spent 13 years teaching Latin and Greek.

Donegan's first hit, Rock Island Line, was released in 1956 and sold millions of copies around the world.

He paved the way for a new sound that helped sweep away crooners like Max Bygraves who had dominated the charts.

He recently found himself in the spotlight again when he collaborated with Irish singer Van Morrison on an album.

I had tea with Princess Margaret once who was a raving fan - she told me she had all my 78s in her attic

Lonnie Donegan
"At last I've made it," he said on Friday.

"I'm delighted of course but I also wonder if it means I've now done as much as I can do.

"I feel perhaps I've got to stop now. Is that it?"

He said the Prince of Wales had known all about his music, which inspired a generation of British teenagers including former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney.

He recalled that his biggest royal fan was Princess Margaret.

"I had tea with Princess Margaret once who was a raving fan. She told me she had all my 78s in her attic," he said.

"She said they must be worth a bob or two, and I replied: `You must be in trouble then if you're having to sell my records'."

Neil Jenkins is the world's highest points scorer in international rugby, last year breaking the record held by Australian Michael Lynagh.

Jenkins picked up the MBE from Buckingham Palace before being flown back to the Welsh capital by helicopter for a rugby match.

The headmasters from Princes William and Harry's former prep school also received an honour.

Gerald Barber and Nicholas Marston, joint headmasters of Ludgrove School in Berkshire, were made lieutenants of the Royal Victorian Order in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

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See also:

03 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Morse finale leads ITV line-up
16 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Closing the case on Morse
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