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Thursday, December 31, 1998 Published at 00:10 GMT


More than one way to a gong

Want that trip to see the Queen? Try being a shepherd

To search for a specific recipient of the 1999 New Year Honours, click the relevant link on the right-hand side of this page.

While there are honours galore for politicians, academics, captains of industry and diplomats, you do not have to have to be a player on the world stage to take that trip to Buckingham Palace.

This year has seen more than half of the honours go to people devoted to voluntary service - many of them nominated by their local communities.


[ image: Or maybe a spot of caravanning?]
Or maybe a spot of caravanning?
There are also the unsung heroes, people with exceptional talents or skills that may have remained hidden if it had not been for their friends and families nominating them.

Two shepherds are honoured this year.

Kenneth Hedley of Jedburgh in Scotland, becomes an MBE for "services to Blackface Sheep Farming".

Elsewhere, former Suffolk shepherd Kenneth Riggall is awarded an OBE for services to the "Welfare of the Badlingham Flock of Suffolk Sheep".


Caravan crazy Ralph Lee on his passion for camping
Retired dental surgeon Ralph Lee, 95, receives an MBE for more than 60 years of dedication to caravanning.

Mr Lee, of Cheltenham, has covered an estimated 500,000 miles with his caravan in tow - including entering the Arctic Circle and crossing the English Channel 74 times.


[ image: The honours await you ...]
The honours await you ...
Commenting on his award, Mr Lee said: "I am very surprised, extremely surprised. Such a thing never entered my head."

London taxi driver George Owen is also made an MBE thanks to his work for the Albany Taxi Charity Fund.

Starting in 1974, Mr Owen persuaded nine drivers to take 18 people with learning difficulties on a day trip to Margate.

That trip has now become an annual event involving 100 cabs and 200 people - coupled with a Christmas Party and children's trip to Hastings.

The Honours list describes him as "an inspiration to others".

Dedication to school

Two school caretakers are named - Samuel Gamble of Bangor, Northern Ireland and Michael Duncan Holmes of Central Primary School, Inverness.

His citation states that his dedication to the school and the welfare of the pupils is carried out with "competence, courtesy, integrity and selflessness".

Ed Doolan, a Birmingham-based BBC radio presenter, is named MBE for services to broadcasting - though he is also known for more than once helping suicidal callers.

People not numbers

Marjorie Bett is named an MBE after spending 40 years as the organist for services at HM Prison Aberdeen.

But perhaps the last word should go to Gloria Bittante, a waitress for more than 40 years in London, named MBE for services to tourism.

The grandmother-of-four, still working at Bertorelli's restaurant in Covent Garden, summed up what for many people the honours system is meant to be about.

"This has come totally out the blue," she said. "I like to spend time with customers and to treat them as part of the family.

"I like to treat them as people and not numbers."





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In this section

For services to education..

Life Peers to Order of the Companion of Honour

Order of the British Empire, Civil - OBE (part one)

Order of the British Empire, Civil - OBE (part two)

Order of the British Empire, Civil - OBE (part three)

Order of the British Empire - MBE A - D

Order of the British Empire - MBE E - J

Order of the British Empire - MBE K - P

Order of the British Empire - MBE Q - Z

Diplomatic Service and Overseas Lists - Orders

Commonwealth except New Zealand

Military - Army

Military - Royal Air Force

Military - Royal Navy

Queen's Medals